Regenerative Community Projects in 2020

Zenergy Aotearoa/NZ Projects (Written by Kelly Townsend and Akasadaka Robison)

Tena koutou katoa. It feels like 2020 has been a watershed year for us here in NZ. We made a conscious decision to focus on business to business work this year, with the intention of bringing Zenergy and regenerative practices to a wider audience. Here are some examples of what transpired.

South Dunedin Library and Community Complex (Dunedin)

Working alongside one of our Zenergy Alumni, Brett Nairn, Akasadaka created a small team to facilitate the co-design of the South Dunedin Library and Community Complex. This was a project that started in 1989 and had been through five different consultation processes before we came on the scene. A popup library, the purchase of a new site and a fair amount of frustration and disappointment in the community was our working ground. Using a regenerative development approach and Zenergy facilitation skills we engaged with representatives from different stakeholder groups in the South Dunedin community to involve them in the co-design and production of the initial concept. It feels like through this process we have all become friends (in the work).

Rangihoua Onetangi Sports Park Reserve Management Plan Intervention (Waiheke Island)

Kelly and Akasadaka took on the challenge of moving the draft Sports Park Reserve Management plan forward. The process had become stuck because of two stakeholder groups’ different needs around a complex system of streams and wetlands. We ran a series of four kitchen table conversations with the purpose of listening and connecting. After some initial push back, we are now able to offer a workshop around Vision and Principles for the Sports Park in February 2021, with the potential that it will become a vibrant community hub contributing to the health and well-being of the Waiheke Community.

Innovating Streets for People – Emily Place and Tyler St (Auckland City Centre)

With the same team that worked on the South Dunedin Project, we are facilitating the co-design of a temporary installation in both Emily Place and Tyler St; the purpose is to create safer streets and traffic calming. This will eventually lead to longer term solutions, so from the outset we have introduced a regenerative development approach, working alongside tactical urbanism methodology. We have facilitated several workshops with community and business stakeholder groups that have been met with a mix of hope and grumpiness. To our surprise we got clapped at the end of our last workshop. We are working with people who are deeply committed to their places and exhibit high degrees of care.

The University of Otago Bachelor of Entrepreneurship Degree Design (Dunedin)

Working alongside Rachel Ruckstahl-Mann (Kai Tahu) Akasadaka was asked to run a process that would design a degree for budding entrepreneurs; one that is unique, place-based and community oriented. We have interviewed business people, academic staff, Pasifika and Maori to gain an understanding of the ground we are working from. We discovered fear, frustration, hope and a will for this to change the game. Using Zenergy facilitation skills, we aim to get them all on the same page and moving in the same direction. We are excited because it may become a new way for degrees to be designed at University of Otago in the future.

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