About Groundwork

Groundwork is run by Jen Margaret, a dedicated Treaty advocate and educator.

Jen is Pākehā, of Cornish, Scottish, Danish and German ancestry. Her ancestors arrived in Te Wai Pounamu in the 1860s. Raised near Leeston on the Canterbury Plains, in the rohe of Ngāi Te Ruahikihiki, Jen was a late learner about the Treaty of Waitangi, first engaging with it at university in the 1990s. Since then, she’s been active in Treaty education and has been fortunate to have 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 the Treaty. 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 (2013). In 2016 she produced Ngā Rerenga o Te Tiriti: Community organisations engaging with the Treaty of Waitangi .

Jen is driven by the question posed by one of her mentors, 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 the Treaty relationship.

Jen lives in Te Whanganui a Tara / Wellington. She collaborates with colleagues around the country to provide workshops and services that support personal, organisational and societal change.

The name ‘Groundwork’

To create Treaty-based change in Aotearoa, we need to understand our histories. We need to understand where we stand in this land, at both personal and organisational levels, and what effect our position has 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)! The name Groundwork: Facilitating Change reflects Jen’s passion for supporting people who wish to dig beneath the surface to better understand historical and current relationships in Aotearoa. Groundwork exists to support people who want to put in the effort to nourish a just and flourishing society.