Incubate: Establishing a Community Trust
What is Incubate?
The Incubate process is a collaborative technique that explores how stakeholders with different views, backgrounds and aspirations can work together. The Incubate process involves working through four stages of the collaboration journey. At each stage Incubate has a checklist with questions and tasks to be completed by participants.
What was the purpose of the Living Water trial of Incubate?
Living Water decided to work through the Incubate process with local community stakeholders to establish a Charitable Trust to manage the restoration goals for a new reserve created through the purchase of 19.6ha of farmland adjacent to a significant area of shorebird habitat at Pūkorokoro -Miranda in the western Firth of Thames.
Who could use Incubate?
Community groups, catchment groups, multi-party collaborations
How does Incubate work?
The Incubate process began in 2016 with one-on-one interviews conducted by an independent facilitator to identify participants’ social, environmental and cultural issues and aspirations. The facilitator used findings from these interviews to flesh out mission and vision statements and shared values during a series of meetings with the wider group. During these meetings, the Incubate process was adapted based on the ‘feeling in the room’ to encourage quality input. Around 20, three-hour meetings were held over a two-year period. This was an essential part of building trust and understanding between all parties. This mutual understanding and trust laid a solid foundation that was essential for successfully establishing the Tiaki Repo Ki Pūkorokoro Trust in 2019. The land purchase was finalised in 2018, and an Ecological Restoration Plan for the reserve and a five-year implementation strategy is now underway.
In addition to forming the Trust, Living Water brought to the table a type of Memorandum of Understanding recently adapted from a multi-partner collaborative project in Northland. This is called a Mana Enhancing Agreement (MEA). It differs from standard MOUs by seeking to build the mana of all signatory parties. The MEA encourages wide and inclusive involvement by including partners from outside the Trust who can be called on to assist with delivering project outcomes.
What did Living Water learn from using Incubate?
The Incubate process built trust and understanding between partners, enabling the development and agreement of shared values, a vision and mission statement. That led to the successful establishment of the Charitable Trust (Tiaki Repo ki Pūkorokoro Trust) for ongoing oversight of reserve management. The Incubate process is a good way for a wide range of stakeholders to find common ground and work together to achieve agreed goals and outcomes.