News from Aotearoa, New Zealand

Kia ora everyone. During the past five weeks, people in New Zealand have been required to stay at home in their own bubble. At first we thought this may put our circle work on ‘pause’ until we can again meet face to face. If anything, there has been an increase of work during this period of forced homestay regarding circle work, including two new circles starting.

One surprising outcome: We had scheduled a family workshop to help families explore how a Community Circle could reduce the isolation for their family member with a disability. Once NZ locked down, we got messages from these families saying, not only they were open to continuing via zoom, but felt it would be a double slap if we didn’t continue! After three sessions we have built connections to feel safe and comfortable as a group and are all becoming clearer on how these circles are a great mechanism to bring people together.

Second surprise: We have used this time to bring a newly-recruited Circle Starter up to speed on what we know to be the important components of a Community Circle. This was an opportunity for 4 of us (pictured) to share what we already know and what we still want to learn – we trained one another as peers via zoom.

Community Circles NZ is grateful that, in this pressure cooker of needing to stop our normal mahi-work, the passion for building community and the flexibility woven into each circle has already translated to how we work differently together at this time. ‘Me mahi tahi tātou mō te oranga o te katoa’ is a māori whakatauki / proverb that says we must work together for the wellbeing of us all. We know this is true for circles, how much more at this time of challenge for our global village.