Building a Social Enterprise Future

DATE 13 June 2018    

Students Ethan Tamihere Alex Kawiti Sione Veituna Isaac Beach Liz Alder

Students Ethan Tamihere, Alex Kawiti and Sione Veituna represent s group of five that created a youth group for the Maori Anglican Church. Isaac Beac (back) is acting as their mentor while Akina Tairawhiti Venture Manager Liz Alder met with the group to talk them through the social enterprise of their project. The students are using a coffee cart for funding, with proceeds going towards opportunities for rangatahi to grow and develop- including overseas travel. Picture courtesy of the Gisborne Herald

Two months into the job and Liz Alder is loving life as Tairawhiti’s new go-to for social enterprise.

Ms Alder is the Tairawhiti venture manager for The Akina Foundation. Akina is the Government’s biggest strategic partner in the social enterprise sector, they are tasked with creating sustainable, prosperous and inclusive communities.

Akina has worked intermittently in-region before but there has never been a Tairawhiti based staff member – that is until Ms Alder began work in April of this year.

At the moment, her job is to identify how her role can best benefit the community.

“Right now I am making sure that I understand local context in the way of who is already doing what, so that the resources allocated to this role are best spent and ultimately filling an unmet need or gap.”

Ms Alder says she is appreciative of this aspect.

 “However, it can be frustrating for someone who just wants to get stuck in and help straight away, which is my natural reaction.

Akina general manager programmes Chris O’Neill says, the research phase is an important part of how the organisation operates.

“Building a deep understanding of community strengths and opportunities is the only way to create impact. Without that understanding, we cannot know how best to build on what the community already has and where we can add support. In the future this might look like business coaching and development services for example.

“Liz is already doing an amazing job. In partnership with Eastland Community Trust, she is building a great picture of community strengths and needs.”

Ms Alder holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree with a focus on entrepreneurship from Auckland University.

She has run Walking on Water Surf, her own business since 2011, a fitting name for how Ms Alder views her role with Akina.

“I like the idea of helping clients by walking alongside them,” says Ms Alder.

“I do not believe in throwing money at things and then having that be that. Social enterprise is about community and environmental outcomes and being able to walk alongside clients every step of the way, really matches that kaupapa.”

Mr O’Neill says, while Ms Alder is still in the research stage, the end goal is clear.

“We expect to see a locally led, thriving social enterprise sector that leads to great outcomes for the Tairawhiti community.”

For more information or help with your social enterprise contact Ms Alder at