Facilitation, consultation & extension - Groundwork Associates

Facilitation and collaboration

The foundation services of the business are facilitation, collaboration, and strategic advice or training in these specialist services. Experienced consultants with a proven track record bring technical knowledge and ability to your work.

Selected projects

These projects have been selected from our comprehensive portfolio to provide an overview of our facilitation, consultation and extension work.

Eliciting focused stakeholder feedback on a nitrogen reduction scheme

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s Rotorua Lakes Programme needed to gather stakeholder feedback on a proposed Incentives Programme framework document. Groundwork Associates designed and facilitated a workshop to generate feedback and suggestions for a successful incentives scheme by reflecting on key lessons learned from other incentives schemes, and reviewing potential governance mechanisms and options for administering the proposed scheme. Workshop attendees had diverse backgrounds and expertise, from farmers, resource managers and policy analysts to science advisers and economists. They were encouraged to think broadly, offer innovative suggestions, troubleshoot potential challenges, and engage in constructive discussions around how to achieve a 100T nitrogen reduction target with maximum benefit to the community and minimal negative consequences. The Groundwork team briefed speakers before the workshop, managed the rich data that emerged through the process on the day, and produced a summary report from that data.

Studying farmers opinions toward Farm Business Management training

Scarlatti and DairyNZ were seeking to build the capability skills in the farming industry by developing new methods for delivery and learner support to promote uptake and completion of NZQA qualifications in Agribusiness Management. To test new approaches for delivery and promotion, Groundwork designed and facilitated farmer focus groups including a participant survey to gather baseline quantitative data. The workshops drew out general views on formal training and specific responses to approaches, data which Groundwork analysed and compiled into a technical report with recommendations.

Galvanising effective response to plant pests

Waikato Regional Council wanted to strengthen its connections with stakeholders involved in identification and management of pest plant invasions to improve effectiveness in this area. This required assistance to identify the key stakeholders and get their participation. Groundwork helped plan and facilitate a stakeholder workshop, and compiled workshop findings into a report including recommendations. Based on a key report recommendation, Groundwork then helped WRC develop a response flow-chart outlining inter-agency responsibilities and role clarity, that could be used once a weed incursion was notified.

It was great to have Annie facilitate [the workshop] and then have a couple of others on the fringe making sure all the information was being collected, nothing lost – that was pretty great. Annie’s really good at understanding the industry, so when I’m trying to explain things or when things come out in the workshop, she’s very good at knowing what we’re talking about.” – Darion Embling, Pest Plants Biosecurity Officer, Waikato Regional Council

Raising awareness of Glyphosate resistance

The Foundation for Arable Research identified Glyphosate resistance in other countries and sought to identify current New Zealand uses of the herbicide to prevent possible resistance here. Groundwork facilitated a national strategy workshop, guiding participants and project partners from various industry sectors to describe NZ glyphosate uses. To assist project leaders in formulating a research and prevention programme, Groundwork produced a comprehensive report from the workshop and hosted relevant audio-visual extension materials on our website.

From the perspective of the project manager, we used Groundwork in a facilitation role and we were very happy with the way they performed and the outcome of the strategy meeting.” – Mike Parker, Project Leader, Foundation for Arable Research

View our “Avoiding Glyphosate Resistance” project website here.

Supporting a sheep and beef sector extension programme

Beef + Lamb NZ wanted to implement a 12-month extension programme to help farmers make practice changes which would contribute to more profitable outcomes. Groundwork supported the ‘Farming for Profit’ programme in the Waikato-Franklin region by working with its farmer-led committee and extension manager on programme development, promotion, media liaison and event logistics. Groundwork also worked with speakers to coordinate and enhance their contributions to each event.

I think [Groundwork] brought a difference of opinion and different attitude which is what we were looking for in a person coming in. A person who could take something, drop it on the ground, pick it up again, and shake it and ask the questions why, how, when. And I think Annie did that.” – Gordon Vernon, Farmer & Chair of the Farming for Profit Steering Committee.

Establishing a road-map for catchment management

The Waipa Zone Liaison Committee wished to establish a 50-year roadmap for river management within the Waipa catchment in parallel with developing its three year Zone Plan. Groundwork designed and facilitated a workshop to help the Committee establish its long-term vision for zone management and identify key issues the roadmap would need to address. Based on workshop output, Groundwork helped adjust the vision statement, word-smithed a series of goals and objectives to support the vision and developed a comprehensive issues table. This information served two purposes: supporting the Committee’s progress on the roadmap and providing required material for the Zone Plan.

Organics Aotearoa New Zealand Strategic Planning Day

Organics Aotearoa New Zealand had reached a watershed moment in its organisational development. Needing to confirm its purpose, general approach heading forward, and prioritise actions for its short-term future, Groundwork designed and facilitated a strategic planning day to analyse the organisation’s position and support its decision-making process.

Informing integrated biodiversity management

Environment Bay of Plenty wanted to implement a coordinated approach to regional biodiversity management by integrating the work of the regional, district and city councils, the Department of Conservation and other stakeholders. As a result of its work on a previous request for proposal (RFP), Groundwork was asked to develop another proposal to support an integrated planning approach to biodiversity management in the whole Bay of Plenty region. Groundwork won the tender for the first phase of the project. Groundwork designed and facilitated two workshops with key agencies to develop a common understanding of what an integrated management approach might look like and used past experience to test and strengthen the concept. Groundwork drew the information from the workshops along with independent research into a case paper to secure support from Collaboration Bay of Plenty, agency CEOs and senior managers for continued development of the approach.

Channelling stakeholder input into biodiversity management strategy

Environment Bay of Plenty wanted to progress a strategic approach to biodiversity management in Whakatane-Ohope’s high-value ecological areas. Groundwork facilitated a workshop for key stakeholders to determine content for an RFP, wrote and edited the workshop notes to provide an accurate record of their ideas and then wrote the RFP itself. Groundwork became lead consultant for the project, designing and facilitating two further workshops to progress the management strategy.

Supporting technology transfer for climate change adaption

MAF’s Climate Change Technology Transfer Sub-Group needed input from key agricultural, horticultural and forestry representatives to build a five year climate change extension/tech transfer plan and confirm industry commitments. Annie Perkins designed and facilitated six sector workshops to help achieve this goal. Groundwork also organised all the workshops, liaised with participants and collated, analysed and integrated the ideas across workshops.

Resolving community concerns about windfarm development

Contact Energy needed an independent facilitator to help hear and resolve submitters concerns about a proposed wind farm before a Ministerial Board of Inquiry reconsiders the proposal in mid-2010. Groundwork helped by coordinating meetings between Contact Energy and submitters, designing and running a facilitation process for each meeting, taking and circulating notes and helping to develop documents required for the project.

Unearthing the knowledge to Grow Organic Dairy

Organics Aotearoa New Zealand’s Organic Dairy and Pastoral Group wanted to work with top organic dairy farmers and Massey University scientists to uncover and document tacit knowledge that would help further the growth of the organic dairy industry. Annie Perkins, in a research leader role, designed and led the experiential learning process through the intensive early stages of the project. Groundwork organised and facilitated on-farm workshops and processed information from them to generate a valuable knowledge bank for those involved in organic dairy production or considering converting to organic methods. Annie Perkins acted as the ODPG’s Northern Region coordinator, providing support for all extension activity in the region.

Building capacity for farmer-to-farmer learning in the organics sector

Groundwork facilitated three training workshops this programme to support leaders in organics with delivery methods for facilitating learning and communication. Results were presented to the 2009 Organics Conference.

Clarifying nutrient management approach for Rotorua Lakes

Facing challenges relating to nutrient management in Rotorua Lakes, the Land Use Futures Trust wanted to develop planning recommendations to help rural landowners reduce nutrient losses and guide the review of the Rotorua District Plan and the Regional Policy Statement. Groundwork developed and facilitated a process to help identify issues and clarify recommendations and presented them in a report which the Trust delivered to the Rotorua Lakes Strategy Group.

The Board had the difficult task of developing planning policy advice to local government agencies, working from the ground up with its diverse membership of farmers, Maori Land Owners, small holders, foresters and others. The Groundwork team, at very short notice, set up an extremely practical and productive process for capturing and collating the views of this group of concerned but disparate people and distilled a wide range of views into a concise meaningful piece of policy advice that the members feel confident of. Such workshops are often difficult to distil down into useful outcomes – Groundwork achieved that very successfully. I am happy to endorse their team.” Richard Vallance, CEO Ngati Whakaue Tribal Lands Inc.

Facilitating merger discussions

Meat and Wool New Zealand was interested in merging its Beef Council and Sheep Council into a single national group representing all NZ sheep and beef farmers. Groundwork helped achieve this goal by facilitating the merger discussions, drawing out common interests but also exploring disparate views.

They understand my business, and the industry we work in and I like their approach. I like the ideals and philosophy of the business; they strike a good balance between the environment, business and social requirements.” Robert Carter, Sheep and Beef Council.

The process developed by Annie and her team provided an open and transparent environment for all affected by the proposed integration. Meat & Wool New Zealand were very pleased with the outcome and level of support as a result of Groundwork facilitation” Richard Wakelin, General Manager Farm Services, Meat and Wool New Zealand.

Resolving community concerns about wind farm development

Contact Energy needed an independent facilitator to help hear and resolve submitters concerns about a proposed wind farm before a Ministerial Board of Inquiry reconsiders the proposal in mid-2010. Groundwork helped by coordinating meetings between Contact Energy and submitters, designing and running a facilitation process for each meeting, taking and circulating notes and helping to develop documents required for the project.

Future-proofing skills and capacity in New Zealand farming

MAF established a ‘Human Capability in Agriculture/Horticulture’ group to help the sectors attract, retain and gain access to the people it needs on or near farms to succeed in the future. Groundwork ran the organisation’s first national meeting in 2002, facilitated a CEO group meeting to establish support for the group and then ran the second national meeting in 2007 to identify national priorities for future focus.

I have great respect for what Groundwork does and would recommend them to others. Groundwork works in a very cooperative and enabling way with an emphasis on robust preparation. They are very inclusive, which ensures whole workshop participation and they have good facilitation tools to work with. They take an intelligent and strategic approach and are good at looking at the big picture. The amount of work put in is very fair with respect to what you pay. On top of this they have a good understanding of how the agricultural sector works.” Sue Pickering, Horticulture New Zealand.

Engaging stakeholders in future direction

Federated Farmers Waikato Executive Committee required an assessment of its current position and determine what members and clients wanted from it in the future. Groundwork designed, facilitated and reported on two planning workshops involving FFW executive committee members and guests (including non-members and clients).

Groundwork is fairly unique in comparison to other facilitators…I like the way they present the whole facilitative part…[it’s] very open and [you feel] involved in the process.” Peter Buckley, Federated Farmers.

Facilitating effective work planning

Environment Waikato’s Community and Economy programme team wanted a facilitator to assist with its work planning process. Groundwork facilitated two team meetings and provided a summary report.

It was a really good piece of work for us. I liked that there was a complete service from facilitation through to notes generation. Quite tidy and complete.” Wendy Boyce, Environment Waikato.

Facilitating public input into long-term council planning

South Waikato District Council required a neutral, non-council facilitator to help consult with the public on its Long Term Community Council Plan. Groundwork ran two focus groups (on social and cultural issues), then compiled and presented the findings back to a full Council meeting.

Efficient, thorough, professional, good communication…Annie really put some thought into the issues that were examined.” Sue Arthur, formerly South Waikato District Council.

Building capacity for public consultation

The Human Rights Commission needed to consult extensively and consistently with the public to develop a national human rights action plan for New Zealand. Groundwork helped HRC get input from over 5,000 people nationwide by training 15 Human Rights Commission staff in participatory appraisal consultation methods and supporting them during the consultation process. Groundwork also facilitated consultation with people in rural Waikato.

Supporting ecological trust establishment and community consultation

Groundwork played an integral role in the Trust’s establishment and initial development. Groundwork worked with trustees to clarify objectives and develop Trust functions and provided training and facilitation to support the Trust’s first year of large-scale community consultation. MEIT wanted its plan for a pest-free reserve around Mt Maungatautari to meet the needs of a wide range of stakeholders. As a charitable trust with limited finances, it had to find a way to consult efficiently, effectively and cheaply. By training a crew of keen volunteers in facilitation techniques, Groundwork helped the Trust minimise costs and complete a massive community consultation exercise in relatively short timeframe. Annie Perkins continued to support the Trust over the following year as it integrated participatory methods into its operating practices.

We’ve used and referred back to that work continuously since it was done four years ago. Whenever we’ve looked at another step forward we’ve gone back and checked over whatever people’s views were at the time and made sure we’ve stayed in line with those views—so the work’s been very valid right up until the present.” Jim Mylchreest, Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust.

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