Who are Community Networks Aotearoa?
In November this year, Community Networks Aotearoa will celebrate a special birthday. Forty years ago the NZ Council of Social Services, as it was then known, was established by the government of the day under the Department of Social Welfare Act 1971. Initially a quasi-government body, NZCOSS emerged as a fully-fledged voluntary organisation a decade later when various COSS community representatives took ownership of it following its disestablishment by government.
This move was welcomed by government who provided funding for the inaugural NZCOSS conference and AGM, and the employment of a part-time staff member. NZCOSS thus took its place as a national social service umbrella organisation a role it continues to fulfil to this day.
Although 2014 saw a name change to Community Networks Aotearoa, our focus and energy remains in providing local and regional social service networks with information, support and a national voice; encouraging the development of networks in new areas and more generally acting as a conduit for social change and community development. With over fifty member organisations throughout the country, CNA brings together some of the smallest, least well represented groups with some of the largest networks.