Meeting in progress

Incubate - Establishing a Community Trust

Partnerships – With Descriptor

About the project

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

The Incubate process explores how stakeholders with different views, backgrounds and aspirations can work together collaboratively. The 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 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. 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

DOC Ranger – Waikato Peat Lakes and Pūkorokoro-Miranda


  • Discussions with local community stakeholders about forming a Trust to manage the reserve began in 2016
  • Land purchase finalised 2018
  • 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 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