Groundwork works alongside organisations wishing to improve their understanding and application of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. We are invested in creating systemic change and addressing systemic injustice. We work with organisations that are ready to take on the challenge of organisational transformation based on Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
To create positive change based on Te Tiriti o Waitangi, we need to understand our histories, and what effect these have on the world around us. What’s more, we need to act!
Addressing injustice requires will and effort. It takes sweat and tears (sometimes literally)! Our name Groundwork: Facilitating Change reflects our passion for supporting people who wish to dig beneath the surface to better understand historical and modern-day relationships in Aotearoa. Groundwork exists to support people who want to put in the effort to nourish a just and flourishing society.
Te Tiriti is very much about relationships. You can find out more about the way we work in relationship with tangata whenua in our common questions section here.
Groundwork is run by Jen Margaret, a dedicated advocate and educator for Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
Jen is Pākehā, of Cornish, Scottish, Danish and German ancestry. Her ancestors arrived in Te Wai Pounamu in the 1860s. Raised on the Canterbury Plains, in the rohe of Ngāi Te Ruahikihiki, Jen was a late learner about the Treaty, first engaging with it at university in the 1990s. Since then, she’s been active in Treaty education and has been guided in this work by many inspiring Māori and Pākehā people.
Jen is a knowledgeable and skilled facilitator who enjoys working with individuals and organisations to deepen our understanding and application of Te Tiriti. A recipient of Winston Churchill and Loxley Fellowships, Jen has researched the work of non-indigenous allies in North America, Australia and Aotearoa. The findings are published in her book Working as allies: supporters of indigenous justice reflect. She has also produced a key resource on organisational Te Tiriti application, Ngā Rerenga o Te Tiriti: Community organisations engaging with the Treaty of Waitangi.
Jen is driven by the question posed by her mentor Mitzi Nairn, “How might we be the honourable people that the rangatira thought they were entering into relationship with in 1840?”
She is also guided by the whakataukī, “Ko koe ki tēnā, ko ahau ki tēnei kīwai o te kete.” In this context, the whakataukī speaks to the differing roles and responsibilities for Tangata Tiriti and Tangata Whenua within Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
Jen lives in Te Whanganui-a-Tara. She collaborates with colleagues around the country to provide workshops and services that support personal, organisational and societal change.
Victoria Owen began working as a facilitator with Groundwork in 2019. She is Pākehā, of English, Scottish and Irish descent. She was born and raised in Aotearoa and currently lives in Kaitoke, Upper Hutt.
Victoria has been involved in Te Tiriti of Waitangi education for more than 20 years. She’s worked to give effect to Te Tiriti through her involvement with central and local government, and with community organisations. She believes that with increased understanding of Te Tiriti comes positive action and a better future for everyone in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Victoria is skilled in group facilitation and adult education. She enjoys working with organisations to design strategies and put these into practice through training and by developing resources for people working on the ground.
Emma Whiley began co-facilitating with Groundwork in 2019. She is Pākehā of Scottish, Welsh and Croatian decent. Emma is a solicitor at Bennion Law with several years’ experience in Waitangi Tribunal and Māori Land Court advocacy. She also has experience guest lecturing at Victoria University.
Emma works to uphold Te Tiriti o Waitangi in her everyday life and believes in the force of a shared understanding and knowledge of Te Tiriti o Waitangi to invoke transformative change.
Alex is a fifth generation Pākehā and graduate of the Kaupapa Māori educational movement. He works closely with teachers, school leaders and communities to help re-imagine te Tiriti-based relationships that are culturally and socially just.
As an educator, facilitator and researcher, with affiliations to Mātaatua, Tainui and Te Tai Tokerau, he is interested in what supports, and inhibits, mutually advantageous relationships between Tāngata whenua and Tāngata Tiriti. He’s been a Groundwork associate since 2018 and a member of te Tiriti education networks since 2001.