Te Parikaranga - Panorama of Nelson City reflected in the Maitai River, New Zealand
Project management

Te Parikaranga – Bringing iwi engagement to the heart of Council

Psoda blog author avatar
14 November 2022

How do you bring your local iwi into the heart of your council and make sure community engagement becomes business as usual?

Nelson City Council didn’t take a half-hearted approach when answering this question. Instead they built a brand new digital communications platform, Te Parikaranga, in collaboration with the eight iwi of Te Tauihu o Te Waka a Māui.


Both iwi and the Council were finding the old way of working cumbersome and time consuming. Council staff were emailing iwi about every project, some of which were extremely important while others were of little interest. This resulted in cluttered inboxes, lack of transparency, duplication of effort and frustration all round.

There had to be a better way!

The project

Co-designed by iwi and Nelson City Council, Te Parikaranga will increase transparency and improve communication between iwi and Council.

It seeks to help redress the balance around Māori participation in Council decision making, support stronger partnerships and increase the Council’s cultural competency.

Council staff load their project’s information directly into the platform where it’s turned into a one page briefing document for iwi. The system generates a weekly notification to iwi representatives advising them of any new projects, removing the need for email conversations. Iwi can access the platform at any time and indicate their interest in each project using a traffic light indicator.

By having all of the information available at a click of a button it’s made the engagement process much easier. Now, everyone has easy access to information and can see exactly what stage each project is at from initial concept through to design and delivery.

The project took two years to complete and came in 22% under budget.


The positive impact of the Te Parikaranga platform cannot be understated. Not only has it increased productivity, it has strengthened and deepened the partnership between the Council and the eight iwi of Te Tauihu o Te Waka a Māui.

It has helped Council meet three of their eight strategic community outcomes:

  • helping create inclusive communities,
  • giving people the opportunity to celebrate and explore their heritage, identity and creativity, and
  • fostering an innovative and sustainable economy.

Plus enabled them to “strengthen the relationship between iwi and the Council, support communication and implement a genuine partnership.”

The Te Parikaranga platform has been such a success that there has already been significant interest from other Councils and Crown Agencies.

The awards

Award winners will be announced during the ALGIM 2022 conference in Christchurch.

Other finalists

Find out about the other finalists:

Ruapehu District Council

Auckland Council

Rhona Aylward avatar
Written by Rhona Aylward
Rhona is Deputy Everything Officer at Psoda, where she does everything except code. After starting life as a microbiologist she moved into PMO leadership roles around the world before settling in New Zealand with her family.

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