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Vital Signs 2016

Vital Signs is a community check-up that reports on the social, environmental, cultural and economic well-being of our communities, joining the dots between statistical information and what matters most to the people living 'on the ground'.

Download the Report

Ten themes examined in the 2016 report:

  • Children

  • Communities

  • Culture and Arts

  • Economy

  • Education

  • Environment

  • Health

  • Iwi Maaori Voices

  • Recreation

  • Youth Voices

Waikato Vital Signs

The purpose of the Waikato Vital Signs 2016 Report:

Strengthen our collective understanding of, and connections within, Waikato communities.

Inform and support decision-making by identifying and communicating key priorities and aspirations of Waikato communities.

Connect philanthropic and grant-making organisations with those organisations that can address the key community needs and opportunities.

Download the Waikato Vital Signs 2016 Report


Who is behind Waikato Vital Signs?

Waikato Vital Signs 2016 is being led by Momentum Waikato Community Foundation in partnership with six major Waikato philanthropic trusts: NAR Foundation; Trust Waikato; WEL Energy Trust; Waikato-Tainui; D.V. Bryant Trust and Ngati Haua Iwi Trust, along with the National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis (NIDEA), University of Waikato.

How is the Waikato Vital Signs report created?

As a process, the Waikato Vital Signs partners engaged NIDEA to collate and analyse existing data from 34 indicators across nine themes.

The NIDEA Waikato Vital Signs Consultancy Report is in itself extremely informative, however the final Waikato Vital Signs report tells the full story as it reflects community priorities, local stories and responses to the NIDEA report from people across the Waikato who attended the community engagement sessions during May 2016.

What is the purpose of engaging with the community – why not just publish the statistical analysis?

Statistics on their own are important, but are an insufficient source of information. Even by putting some analysis around statistics, we are still not telling a full story. Engaging with communities helps to create meaning, telling narratives of a place, and capturing communities’ views on their strengths and challenges. By having local conversations we hope to:

Supplement the statistics with meaningful, compelling and relevant experiences and learning

Hear stories that add a qualitative outlook to the more quantitative nature of the statistics

Understand the priorities of the communities we engage with

Facilitate and encourage discussions which represent diverse perspectives

Build relationships within our community that are ongoing beyond the initial Waikato Vital Signs engagements.

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Why did the partners only choose Matamata-Piako District, Hamilton City and Waikato District for the pilot of the first Waikato Vital Signs?

Momentum Waikato and its partners decided to do the initial 2016 project as a pilot to enable us to fully develop our processes for the long term. We chose to initially focus on three territorial authorities in the greater Waikato region - Matamata-Piako District, Hamilton City and Waikato District, as these three adjacent and central areas offered a diverse mix of rural and urban economies with a wide range of demographic characteristics.

The partners recognise that young people typically engage with information and with each other differently than older cohorts. The youth engagement sessions were designed to clearly capture youth views, as well as to reflect their ways of working together. Effective engagement with Iwi Māori is also an important aspect of Waikato Vital Signs.

Hasn’t this been done before? What’s new? What makes it different to other reports?

The strength of Waikato Vital Signs lies in engaging communities around evidence-based trends, and then using quantitative information as a starting point to engage them in a meaningful dialogue about their well-being, priorities, aspirations and needs.

Momentum Waikato is the second Community Foundation in New Zealand to introduce the Vital Signs tool - the first was the Bay of Plenty’s Acorn Foundation in 2015.

Is this just a one-off thing?

No – it is anticipated that Waikato Vital Signs will be published as a report every four years. It is also intended to include other territorial authorities in the greater Waikato region in future reports.

Download the Waikato Vital Signs 2016 Report