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Free Resources

to make good change

We developed this set of frameworks to support our practice and keep adding new ones as our work requires. When facilitating hard conversations or helping others to find their strengths, these resources help us to ask the right questions or explain different aspects of community development. Feel free to download, print and play with these resources (more instructions are available in the files). All our frameworks are licensed under a Creative Commons License. If you’d like help using any of these resources, contact us


Participation Continuum

We are always learning and refining how we work based on 'practice-based evidence' as well as knowledge shared by others. This tool has developed from Arnstein's 'Ladder of Participation' via the lens of indigenous evaluation practices, experiences in placemaking and new kinds of economies that work for everyone.


We use it in all our work. This tool can be particularly useful in helping systems to adjust and change. While we aim to spend most of our time at the right end of the continuum, sometimes we also work at the left end, compelling people to make changes they may not wish to, such as when new strategic approaches are resisted (when car parks are removed, for example) or the specific expertise required to make an informed decision (e.g., to build a new bridge in the area).


Pathway of Positive Change

This tool helps reveal what people are up for and how they might work together. It enables a group to better understand what they already have together, imagine a future and a way of getting there, to believe that way will make a difference and to act on that belief in ways that build on what has come before and what is already there; growing local leadership, relationships and teamwork as we go.

​It opens up the capacity to imagine a better way; to join with others and believe what you are doing will make a difference; to act together by joining and leading at different times; and to learn by doing and adapt as we go.


Iterative Planning

Drawing on Appreciative Inquiry, Design Thinking and using 'Powerful Questions', and backcasting we use this tool to help make intentions clear, keep planning light, build on what people already have available and structure in the ability to response to emerging opportunities and new possibilities as we go.


Powerful Questions

Powerful questions are a tool of Appreciative Inquiry and their structure aligns with Simon Sinek’s work on the Golden Circle and starting with ‘why’. Traditionally constructed with why, what (what if) and how (how come) as the more powerful ways of beginning a question, less powerful questions include who, when and where. The least powerful questions start with did, can, will and which as well as any other yes/no questions.

In the contexts that we work in, however, who, where and when are also powerful questions and they are often where we start. This is because who is involved in making decisions shapes those decisions and so too does where and when the decision making takes place. Every person and every place has unique potential, and it changes over time. Our lives and the lives of the places we are in are constantly in flux.


The 5 Whys

Developed from Sakichi Toyoda's work from the 1930s, this tool is a simple way to reveal root causes. ​

The 5 Whys technique is very simple: when a problem occurs, you drill down to its root cause by asking "Why?" five times. Then, when a 'counter-measure' becomes apparent, sometimes before you have asked why five times, you follow it through to prevent the issue from recurring.


The 5 Wais

This framework was developed in 2015 and then updated in 2020 with Te Atawhai Tibble. We have married up the text with images taken by Jane Dove Juneau at Parihaka in 2016. These images are from a hikoi we were on. Led by Andrew Judd, it culminated at Parihaka and was a call to action on racism in Aotearoa and, in particular, a call for Māori wards in local authorities.

We are on a journey to decolonise our own work and lifestyles and have woven into the framework powerful questions to ask ourselves and colleagues before, during and after engagement, collaboration and/or partnering with Māori. We also find it useful to ground engagement with non-Māori communities.


Mānawatia a Matariki

We hope that you and your loved ones had a chance to come together and celebrate Matariki in its first iteration as a public holiday. In honour of this beautiful celebration, we’ve adapted one of our favorite resources to help you support your own collective practices of remembrance, the celebration of the present, and aspirations for the future.

Best used together with others, we hope that this Matariki ideas board assists in building inspiration for unity and the collective work towards lifestyles that nourish all places and lives. The Matariki Ideas Board is free* and we’d love to hear how you use it! 

*Thanks to and @Extended Whānau for allowing use of the official logo for Matariki public holiday. Terms of use mean our Ideas Board cannot be used for commercial gain. Please contact us if you would like to use our Ideas Boards commercially. Please also do not use the Matariki Ideas Board in areas where it could be easily dirtied, damaged or destroyed.


Working with disabled people

As part of our work with Local Area Coordinators at Journey Together, (now Life Unlimited), Catalyse adapted and developed a range of resources to help grow community connections and self-worth.


Te Whare Tapa Whā

Te Whare Tapa Whā was developed as a holistic and balanced approach to health and wellbeing by Sir Mason Durie (Rangitāne, Ngāti Kauwhata and Ngāti Raukawa) and first published in 1982. This interpretation has been developed by Catalyse for Local Area Coordinators in Journey Together and AccessAbility who walk alongside people with disabilities in Otago/Southland, Hutt Valley, Western and Eastern Bay of Plenty and Lakes districts exploring their good life in community.

Te Whare Tapa Whā can be used as a way of creating a snapshot to show how people are feeling individually and as a group, in terms of the five fundamental aspects of holistic wellbeing. The framework highlights areas of individual strength as well as those areas that are not feeling so strong and it also shows where a group is strong, and where it currently is not.

Catalyse is grateful to Kingi Gilbert who developed this beautiful design for us. 


Stretch cards

These cards aim to encourage adults with disabilities to grow their community by sharing skills they already have or are ready to learn. The cards offer a range of challenges and a way of playing that foster agency from the disabled person through aspects of what a good life can be - creativity, connection, caring, stretching, sharing and laughing


Chatterbox for under 10s

For use with children under ten years old and/or their parents and caregivers, this chatterbox encourages positive thinking and skill development in the child, and new ways of interacting from the parent/caregiver. The idea is to focus on who the child is (beyond their needs) in order to see their worth, unique abilities and potential.


The Johari Window

Complete with a list of kind words, this version of the Johari Window is used as a way to open conversation. It focuses on and reveals the disabled person’s strengths, with a view to activating these in ways that matter to the individual.



Adapted from Appreciative Inquiry, this version of SOAR is often used to follow on from the Johari Window. It is a great way for disabled people to think about and activate their strengths in the context of available opportunities. It can help identify what a good life can look and feel like; celebrate the skills, abilities and resources a person already has and help them to create a plan and take actions to achieve a good life.


The Paint

A visual storytelling template that is based on a real story, The Paint is a way to show how multiple strands come together to achieve an initiative and make it so much more than it would have been without their contributions! It also shows how the ripples of that work carry on in various ways.


Uplifting placemaking in Aotearoa

As part of its work, Catalyse supports the development of placemaking practice in Aotearoa via developing systems, building capacity and creating opportunities for practitioners to learn from each other and build more appetite for placemaking. In 2018-2020 Catalyse was assigned to create and assemble resources for the Placemaking Kit in Tāmaki Makaurau - a box filled with tools and resources that can be used for placemaking. On this page, you'll find resources we developed ourselves and with others.  


The Placemaking Kit

The Placemaking Kit grew out of conversations with placemaking practitioners in Tāmaki Makaurau who expressed a desire for more collective, community-building placemaking.

Developed in 2018 with The Open Fort, and updated based on user feedback in Tāmaki Makaurau over the next two years, the Placemaking Kit is a box filled with tools and resources to support great placemaking. On this page you'll find resources we developed ourselves and with others.  You can find more great resources and the information about the Kit here.


The Placemaking Chatterbox

The Placemaking Chatterbox is inspired by a popular children's game (also known as a fortune teller) and adapted to be used for placemaking ideation. Using it helps people imagine the future of a place from different perspectives. Best done with at least one friend, the chatterbox encourages creative thinking and grows relationships. Just print it, fold it and play!

The Placemaking Chatterbox is one of the tools included in the Placemaking Kit created and assembled by Catalyse for Placemaking Tāmaki Makaurau. You can find more great resources and the information about the Kit here


Tāmaki Makaurau Placemaking Ideation Cards

This deck of cards was developed in partnership with The Open Fort in 20918 and has been updated several times based on feedback from users. Designed to stretch your thinking and project development, the cards can help you to tease out a range of scenarios to test ideas, consider alternatives and help make any initiative the best it can be! The cards can also help consider a wider range of situations and perspectives and include quieter members of a team. 


You can download the cards to print at home. If you are interested in a deck of cards for permanent use, connect with us.


Discover Cards

This deck of cards was developed from Asset Based Community Development approaches and can help you to see what is already there in your place in terms of knowledge, passions, skills and resources of people, community groups and networks; government and non government organisations; built and natural environment; culture and identity and the local economy. Use them not only to find our what is hiding in plain sight but also how you might build on that together.

You can download the cards to print at home. If you are interested in a deck of cards for permanent use, connect with us.


Footpath Games

One of our new year's resolutions is to have plenty of fun! And so, we offer this resource to kick things off. Developed as part of our work with Hibiscus and Bays Local Board, all footpath games in this collection are easy to copy or adapt to a footpath or other hard surface near you. All you need is chalk (or chalk paint) and some willing hands! 

All these materials are licensed for re-use under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence. 

In summary, you are free to copy, distribute and adapt the material, as long as you attribute it to Catalyse and abide by the other licence terms.

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