Our Work

Creating Сhange That Matters and Will Last

Catalyse brings people together to discover what matters to them collectively. 
We build on what is already there and work out together how to turn ideas into actions that make a positive difference. For us, the process is as important as the outcome.

We work with individuals, groups, organisations and communities who want to:

develop and implement collective change that will enable their place adapt, flourish and thrive: socially, culturally, economically, environmentally and politically

understand what local people have already, want to keep or add and need to change in their places 

get inspired and inspire other people around them to co-create positive change

find pathways towards better lives in their communities, for all kinds of people and the place itself too

build strong relationships within and across their communities to improve cohesion, resilience and regeneration

better understand the outcomes and impacts they are contributing to, and how to weave what they learn into next steps


We join you on your journey, bringing our heads, hearts and hands to co-create positive change that matters to you and your communities, and to the place you are in.

We start with you, where you are and what you already have. We value your knowledge, experience and expertise, and that of those around you. We help draw this together in cohesive and purposeful ways, building on what you already have and adding to it. We help to grow, leverage and optimise the skills and resources you bring and build increased capabilities, competencies and equity.


We ensure local people are at the centre of decisions that affect them. This way many local voices contribute and local people get to know what’s happening, what works, what they want more of and what to let go of in order to create the kinds of places and lives they want together.


We offer proven strengths-based, participatory ways of understanding, inspiring and advancing how local people can be part of making their places work well for them now, and into the future. It involves growing, leveraging and optimising the skills and resources people bring and building increased capabilities, competencies and equity as we go. We do this in a wide range of ways, from locally-led activation to background policy, strategy, research and evaluation.

We invest in people as much as in making visible changes in places. We build the capabilities of those in communities as we go, so the skills for creating positive change take root and grow in ways that work best for all. 


We love local. The neighbourhood, suburb or small town scale is where the most successful locally-led change happens. These places are the building blocks of our communities, our cities and our regions. They are the places where we as individuals can see the changes we make, and also where we can see that when we work together truly transformational change happens.


We blend our practical experience with a strong academic background. We draw on our real-life experience of engaging with communities and groups as well as iwi, hapū, organisations, government and business and we strengthen this experience with best practices and models developed by practitioners and academics from across the world. We are always learning and love creating our own tools and frameworks too!

Our Services








​If what you are after is not listed here, we might still be able to help. Give us a call and let’s have a chat.


Our Work

This is a short summary of some of our current and recent activities. We undertake many short-term projects alongside longer term initiatives at any one time so a full list would be very long! 

If you want to know more about these projects or to see a fuller list of our work please contact us.

Community-led development (2010-current) with Inspiring Communities and Powerdigm in Auckland and nationally in a wide range of ways that include supporting local initiatives, strategic planning, running workshops, training sessions and events, as well as assisting with noticing change and evaluation.

​Takapuna Methodist Church (2016-current) in a range of roles supporting local community engagement and the development of the parish, including both social and physical infrastructure. This work began with mentoring, facilitation and research work for Shore to Thrive and has expanded to include work across the parish, including community engagement for both church sites in Takapuna and Northcote, mentoring and community engagement on specific projects.


Placemaking Week Tamaki Makaurau (2018-current) with Eke Panuku, NativebyNature, The Open Fort and Fresh Concept to support a series of community-led activations happening in public spaces across Auckland in October 2018 and 2019, then online in 2020 and 2021. This work has seen Catalyse develop the Placemaking Kit and resources, become the architects of the Kūmara Awards, host the Ako Ako series and redevelop the Placemaking Aotearoa website. See more at

Community Engagement with Eke Panuku as a part
of the Innovative Streets programme in Takapuna (2020-current)
saw us work closely with locals to gather ideas to inform design changes that were trialled in local streets. We also gathered information on the changes local people felt these designs made and informed further stages of the trial. These relationships have led to further locally-led placemaking efforts with local residents, businesses and artists that are generating new connections between people and place, as well as improving the place itself in ways local people feel very proud of. 

Strategic planning and community engagement (2021 - current) with Timaru District Council and the Community Boards in Geraldine and Pleasant Point to deliver a first iteration of strategic plans in each community. The work involves stocktake research and wide reaching, creative community engagement in rural and urban areas, both in-place and digitally. It is a partnership with Powerdigm as well as involving Gap Filler and Kete Planning. 

Community-led Placemaking in Kaipātiki (2019-2021) with Kaipātiki Local Board supporting local placemakers to collaborate and create a range of locally-led placemaking activations in ways that are valued by local people and which promote a sense of belonging, pride and community. The focus was on working with local group in Totaravale, Windy Ridge and Glenfield and led to murals, signs, gardens, a little library and a pataka kai, as well as the development of new and deeper relationships.

Building Social Cohesion in Roskill South and Ōwairaka
with the Albert-Eden and Puketāpapa Local Boards and Kāinga Ora, this project researched approaches to inform the successful integration of existing and new community members during the redevelopment of social and affordable housing in Roskill South and Ōwairaka.

Documentation, evaluation and storytelling for several locally-initiated projects in the Bay of Plenty for Presbyterian Support Northern (2020-2021) in partnership with Talk Creative. These projects are focused on working with fringe whānau in tikanga-based ways, developing the power of whānau, mahitahi and aroha. Catalyse contributed to their work by offering strength-based approaches and helping everyone to understand and articulate the outcomes and contributions of everyone involved.

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Developing the capacity of Local Area Coordinators with Journey Together to engage with communities in the course of their work supporting people living with various disabilities (2020-2021). This work included training, mentoring, research and activation as well as resource development. You can see some of the tools we co-created with Journey Together (now Life Unlimited) here.

Strategic Planning with New Zealand Ethnic Women’s Network (2020-2021) involved reviewing existing strategic documents, interviewing key stakeholders and facilitating the co-creation of an updated strategy.