Published by: Mary Jo (MJ) Kaplan, Kaplan Consulting
with support from Centre for Social Impact, Foundation North and Ākina Foundation
"I had a unique opportunity to examine the field of social enterprise in Aotearoa New Zealand in 2013, supported by an Ian Axford Fellowship. The field was fractured and barely visible in New Zealand in contrast to its global traction. My report highlighted the need for government policy, increased public and private investment, and an education and training pipeline.
Fast-forward to September 2017 when 1600 social entrepreneurs and stakeholders, including over 1000 New Zealanders, coalesced in Christchurch from around the globe to attend the Social Enterprise World Forum. Gathering in Christchurch symbolized resilience in the face of community fragility. We met in gorgeous rebuilt structures and we also witnessed rampant reconstruction still underway seven years after the earthquake. National pride was palpable at the pōwhiri and throughout the forum. The selection of New Zealand to host this major conference, coordinated by the Ākina Foundation, was a clear sign that social enterprise had gained momentum and stature in a mere few years. The diversity of participants was notable. Was this collision of entrepreneurs and activists a signal of an emergent movement?”
MJ Kaplan (Introduction, On the Cusp, Redesigning complex communities and institutions to flourish: Can Aotearoa New Zealand lead the way?)