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Far North Thrive

The first Thrive was run in the Far North
from April to August 2015. It was specially
designed for Far North communities and
was delivered in partnership by the Ākina
Foundation and the Far North District
Council, with Foundation North funding
support. Ākina is now looking for partners to
run the programme in new locations.

Helping New Zealanders
explore social enterprise ideas

Through four two-day workshops held
throughout the Far North (Kerikeri, Rawene,
Kaitaia and Kaeo) plus contact in between,
the 24 participants learnt about social
enterprise, developing an enterprise, and
growing their leadership and business
skills. Participants came from as far north
as Houhora, down to Whangarei, and were
chosen from 53 applicants. There was a mix
of ages, genders and ethnicities who took
part in the Far North Thrive, including 32%
Māori, reflective of the population in the
Their enterprise ideas ranged from
addressing food insecurity and
strengthening local growers’ market
connections to tackling youth
unemployment, and from boosting the
creative arts industry to dealing with
environmental and waste management
The programme concluded with an expo
where the participants had an opportunity
to showcase their work, share learnings
from the journey and provide an opportunity
for new supporters to get involved.

Thrive is a five-month
development programme
to help people explore new
ideas and learn how to start
a successful social enterprise.
It is about growing a thriving
and sustainable social
enterprise sector.

Who is Thrive for?

Thrive is for anyone who is active in their
community and is prepared to lead positive and
lasting change. The ideal participant is driven
by a social or environmental purpose and wants
to use business to achieve this goal.
“They are talented and passionate people,
seeking to strengthen their skills to make a
positive difference.” – Alex Hannant, Ākina
Thrive is for:
(( Local business leaders that wish to leverage
skills and experience for social purpose
(( Community leaders that want to harness
business to achieve positive outcomes for
their community
(( Individuals that care about their region and
want to gain skills to lead the creation of
community social enterprise, and
(( Existing social enterprises or community
organisations that are pursuing new social
enterprise activities.
“By investing in people, by building capability
and confidence in communities, we will find
solutions to help us thrive.” – John Carter, Far
North District Mayor

Far North Thrive Participants

Building on strengths

The Thrive programme is not training. It is
designed to build on strengths and uses
mixed methods and experiential learning to
develop the person as a leader for change.
Participants take charge of their learning and
are challenged to take the first steps in creating
their enterprise. They are surrounded by others
on a similar journey and are supported by
experienced facilitators, tasked with helping
them succeed.
“We’re not alone. Together it feels more
powerful.” – Far North Thrive participant
Participants are selected by assessing the
evidence of:

1. Learning and leadership
▫▫ Personal learning and reflection
▫▫ Entrepreneurial behaviour and
leadership in business or the
▫▫ Values and ethics for social enterprise
▫▫ Commitment to executing on the idea

2. Purpose and impact
▫▫ Significance of the social or
environmental challenge
▫▫ The enterprise will result in intended
▫▫ People affected by the enterprise will
be involved

3. Business model
▫▫ Value to customers, and
▫▫ Operational and financial viability.

Business plan
Business model
Discovery and insight
The social entrepreneur
Learning and development:
experience, content, connections

The programme uses best practice in learning
and development, enterprise education
and business model design. It builds the
capabilities of the entrepreneur as the
foundations for venture creation and increase
the probability of success.
“I’ve been doing community development work
for more than 20 years and I’ve never seen
anything like this.” – Gary Gabbitas, Far
North District Council

Photo by Sarah Marchall Photography

Organic Home Food
WHO. Kevin Rasmussen of the
Rainbow Hills Sustainable Futures
Trust has a passion to help people
grow their own healthy organic
food. He has been teaching organic
horticulture in the mainstream
tertiary education system for the past
10 years.
WHAT. Kevin wants to fill the gap
in community education in organic
home food production in the Far
North. He’s knows there are many
people who want to grow their own
food but don’t have the skill, lack
confidence or don’t have the time
to enroll on a full-time course. Kevin
plans to provide a month-to-month
service to growing your own food that
anyone can join.

Whare Bike
WHO. Ash Howell is an artist and
bike mechanic who fell in love
with bicycles while living in the
Netherlands. He has spent the past
two years working with the people
of Whangarei. He is working with
Ride Cycle and is being supported by
Community Business and Education
Centre and Manaia Public Health
WHAT. Whare Bike is a community
bicycle workshop within the Wood
Community Space. They take
unwanted bikes and provide the
tools, parts and expertise that
allows people to have their own
independent transport. In the past
two years, Whare Bike has given away
more than 100 bicycles and taught
countless people how to fix their
own bikes.

After five months, the result is strong
momentum to continue working on an idea
that will make a difference in their community,
(( Capability and confidence to take their
idea for a community enterprise to the
next stage, and
(( A support network that believes in them
and their idea and can help achieve their

Ngati Rangi
Development Society
WHO. Ngati Rangi Development Society
CEO Melanie Catanuto returned home
to NZ in 2008 when her father died and
rediscovered the underlying beauty and
issues in Northland. She has a professional
background as an accountant and fund
and asset manager and is working with a
diverse team.
WHAT. Melanie has three social enterprise
ideas in development:
▫▫ Hua Parakore – supplying the local
community with kai (food) and
rongoa (medicine) via native seedling
production for riparian planting
▫▫ Providing a local painting and
decorating service for schools,
council and homes in Northland, plus
employing students, and
▫▫ Yup I Can – an evidence-based app
that showcases individuals’ skills – not
just formal qualifications – and brings
CVs to life.

The Far North Thrive programme received widespread local news coverage including the Northern
Advocate, Northland Age, Northern News and live interview on Te Hiku FM.
“This is some of the council’s most important work at this time and has the potential to change
the face of the Far North.” – Di Maxwell, Far North District councillor

“I feel empowered to go out and pitch my social
enterprise idea to anyone.” – Far North
Thrive participant
If you’re interested in making a significant impact in
NZ communities and partnering with Ākina on a Thrive
programme in your region, please get in touch.
04 384 9676