Meeting in progress

Incubate - Establishing a Community Trust

Partnerships – With Descriptor

About the project

Following the purchase of 19.6ha of farmland to form a reserve to increase the area of shorebird habitat, discussions with local community stakeholders about options for managing the reserve were initiated in 2016. To advance these discussions, stakeholders agreed to participate in the pilot of a new collaboration best practice model called Incubate.

The Incubate process explores how stakeholders with different views, backgrounds and aspirations can work together collaboratively. The ultimate goal of working through the Incubate process was to establish a Charitable Trust to manage the restoration goals for the new reserve.    

The Incubate process involves working through four stages of the collaboration journey. At each stage Incubate has a checklist with a list of questions and tasks to be completed by participants (read full report).

The Incubate process began with one-on-one interviews to identify participants’ social, environmental and cultural issues and aspirations. These interviews were conducted by an independent facilitator at a venue convenient to stakeholders. The facilitator used findings from these interviews to flesh out shared values, mission and vision statements during a series of meetings with the wider group. During these meetings, the Incubate process was adapted taking into account the ‘feeling in the room’ to encourage good quality input. Around 18, three-hour monthly meetings were held over a two-year period, and although at times it felt like progress was slow, 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.

In addition to the formation of 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.

Dion Patterson

Dion Patterson

DOC Site Lead, Waikato Peat Lakes and Pūkorokoro-Miranda
Rose Graham

Rose Graham

Ranger – Hauraki and Waikato


  • Discussions with local community stakeholders about forming a Trust to manage the reserve began in 2016
  • Tiaki Repo Ki Pūkorokoro Trust established 2019
  • Ecological Restoration Plan for the reserve and a five-year implementation strategy is now underway      
PKM meeting in progress


  • Shared values, vision and mission statement agreed by all parties
  • Built trust and understanding between participating partners
  • Mana Enhancing Agreement, Ecological Restoration Plan, and Five-Year Implementation Strategy developed
  • Charitable Trust established - Tiaki Repo ki Pūkorokoro Trust - for ongoing oversight of reserve management 
Drone image Cox Head