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Auckland Council The Auckland Plan

Belonging and participation explained

Conceptual graphic of Auckland landmarks such as the ferry terminal building, sky tower and volcanic cone.

Auckland is experiencing rapid growth and social change – and this will continue.

We have a diverse population in terms of:

  • ethnicity and national origin
  • culture, religion and lived experience
  • socio-economic status
  • gender and sexuality, including rainbow communities
  • disability
  • age
  • rural, island or urban location.

This diversity brings many differences in values and lifestyles, demands for goods and services, and expectations of civic engagement and democracy.

To ensure positive life experiences for all Aucklanders, we need to be open to learning about and valuing differences, and to understand our shared and different histories.

This will lead to living together with greater acceptance, trust and mutual respect, and people working together to create a shared future. 

Auckland will not be successful unless all Aucklanders feel they belong and can participate in society.

We can achieve this in a number of ways:

Celebrate Auckland's Māori identity

Te Tiriti o Waitangi/the Treaty of Waitangi is the foundation of a multi-cultural Auckland and recognises the special place of Māori.

The history and culture of mana whenua helped shape and define today's Auckland and is an important part of what it means to belong in Auckland.

Continuing to build on and celebrate Auckland's Māori identity recognises our history and underpins how we welcome people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. 

Providing opportunities for mana whenua to develop and express Auckland's Māori identity and to share this with the people of Auckland, ensures mana whenua continue to have a strong presence in Tāmaki Makaurau. It also promotes wider understanding and strengthens our sense of belonging.

Recognise social and cultural differences

Auckland's identity continues to evolve. It is important that people are supported to maintain their cultural identities and traditions, and are provided with opportunities for cultural expressions, in all their forms.

New Zealand has long-standing cultural, economic and political ties with South Pacific nations. Auckland's Pasifika population, Pacific languages and cultural practices and customs also contribute to making Auckland distinctive. Many other population groups make valuable contributions to life in Auckland.

Rapidly growing populations can strengthen social cohesion or undermine it, simply because of the pace of change.

Most New Zealanders (81 per cent) agree it is good for society to be made up of people from different races, religions, and cultures.  The majority recognise that migrants make an important contribution to New Zealand's culture, society and the economy.

Social and cultural differences can:

  • pose challenges around understanding and social cohesion
  • cause individuals or groups to feel isolated and excluded from participating in society.

This can mean that some people are unable to achieve their aspirations, resulting in increasing economic disparity.

Participation in social and community activities, and in civic life, can help Aucklanders to recognise interests they have in common with others, and to feel a sense of belonging.

Participation can occur in many different settings, for example through:

  • families and whanau
  • interest and cultural groups
  • geographic communities and neighbourhoods
  • faith groups
  • sports and arts
  • community events
  • in the workplace.

Community building initiatives

Festivals, Auckland-wide and local events, community programmes, and arts and cultural initiatives build local pride, develop and maintain community cohesion, retain cultural knowledge, attract visitors, and stimulate the economy. 

These initiatives can provide opportunities for people from different social, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds to meet, connect, participate in, and enjoy community life.

However, to really strengthen social cohesion, we need to take steps to pro-actively foster relationships between different communities in Auckland.

Local leadership and decision-making

Local leadership and volunteering are ways that people can be actively involved in their communities. They create a sense of purpose and achievement and help make communities resilient.

Participation in civic and community life leads to people feeling that they have influence over the decisions that affect their lives, and a high degree of confidence in their governmental institutions.


For Auckland to be a place where people continue to want to live and work, all Aucklanders must have the opportunity to succeed.

This means we need to be on a path that will lead to everyone being able to belong and to participate in society.

It also means a path to equity where all people can share in Auckland's prosperity.

How we track progress

We will track progress against a set of measures.

The measures for this outcome are:

  • Aucklanders' sense of community in their neighbourhood
  • Aucklanders' sense of safety in their homes and neighbourhood
  • Aucklanders' quality of life
  • Relative deprivation across Auckland
  • Aucklanders' sense of health
  • Treaty of Waitangi awareness and understanding

How we can implement the plan

Aucklanders have a shared responsibility for implementing the plan.