Social enterprise has new strategic partner

DATE 23 April 2018    

LIz Nalder

Akina venture manager Liz Alder. Picture courtesy of the Gisborne Herald

Social enterprises will receive a long-term boost from the Government’s biggest strategic partner in the sector.

The Akina Foundation was formed in 2014 and is the country’s principal go-to for social enterprise, working for sustainable, prosperous and inclusive communities and countries.

The foundation has worked with Tairawhiti people before, namely through the THRIVE programme, but their presence here is about to be amplified by the appointment of new venture manager Liz Alder.

Miss Alder was born and raised in Gisborne, growing up on her family’s farm at Manutuke. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Auckland and has run her own business here, Walking on Water Surf, since 2011.

“It is fantastic to have this connection with a national foundation like Akina, however our region is different to somewhere like Wellington or Auckland.

“Running a business here means I am in touch with the local business landscape. We have a different socio-economic makeup, different geography, and different challenges and advantages.”

Miss Alder’s mission is to empower people to move their initiatives forward by providing the support and resources they need.

“I love seeing people do well and I think together we do better. I cannot wait to help other people who are passionate about seeing a better Tairawhiti, by using their work lives to improve our people and our place.”

To help make this happen, Akina has partnered with Eastland Community Trust.

Part of Miss Alder’s role is to develop a three-year work plan for the foundation in the region, with help from ECT community engagement manager Audine Grace-Kutia.

Mrs Grace-Kutia says Akina will be able to use information gathered as part of a wider community engagement, to help inform their final plan.

“Overall, this partnership is exciting, as the purpose strongly aligns with ECT’s vision of fostering economic prosperity, while also delivering social and environmental outcomes.

“Liz’s appointment means we have someone on the ground, as opposed to having someone from Akina come here intermittently.”

Akina chief executive Louise Aitken says Ms Alder’s appointment is a great asset for the community.

“Liz brings a wealth of relevant experience to the role that will help local social entrepreneurs, community organisations and businesses get where they need to go.”

Ms Alder is based at ECT’s office. To contact her or for more information email