Ciara Arnot Community Advisor •
As part of our grant funding last year, we set aside $100,000 in a rolling fund ("on-demand grant") to support affected communities around Aotearoa as they grapple with the rising incidence of online extremism, racism, transphobia, and hate-motivated abuse online ('dangerous speech').
We talked to 30 different groups about what this idea meant to them, the issues they are facing, and how they seek to support their community. Those conversations will shape our thinking as we prepare for upcoming funding rounds; out of them, ten initiatives received funding. One of these was Courageous Conversation Aotearoa Foundation for a project called "Virtual Courageous Conversation for a safer, more productive Internet Community."
Courageous Conversation Aotearoa Foundation works in partnership with the Courageous Conversation South Pacific Institute to provide access to the tools of the Courageous Conversations About Race Protocol (the "Protocol") to rangatahi and communities. Courageous Conversations About Race tools are available in the marketplace, but the Foundation supports community groups to overcome financial barriers creating an opportunity to examine and address, in a direct, compassionate and uncompromising way, the structures that promote and sustain racial disparity.
The Foundation's mission is to elevate racial consciousness through interracial dialogue. Grounded in Te Tiriti, they offer a protocol for healthy and productive conversations about race and racism, deepening our collective understanding of racial equity. They pursue authentic treaty-based relationships, racial healing and social justice. The Protocol provides participants and communities with a shared language, tools and strategies to engage, sustain and deepen intra- and inter-racial dialogue about race, racism and racial equity, which leads to healing and empowerment.
In response to lockdowns, the crew adapted their foundational two-day workshop to be delivered 100% online: Virtual Courageous Conversation — The Experience (VCC). VCC was designed to take participants on a carefully measured journey. They learn tools and a methodology grounded in Tiriti-based practice. Delivered by two facilitators, each representing tangata whenua and tangata Tiriti, the online version is equipped with technical support to ensure a safe and inclusive experience for all attendees. Participants check in together a couple of weeks after the sessions to reflect on what has come up since the workshop and explore how they have used the tools in their personal and/or professional lives.
The funding we provided supported a cohort of wāhine Māori. The rationale was that a targeted session for wāhine Māori would offer a welcome opportunity to build affinity among and for this community at a much-needed time — given the rise in online hate and persistent attacks via social media, particularly those with moko kauae, that exacerbates the pressure on this community. These people are mothers, sisters, daughters, teachers, neighbours and co-workers in our communities. By sharing the tools, the Foundation has empowered a group of key community leaders who can further model to the broader community intentional practices to engage in healthy and productive conversations about race, both online and in person.
Each year InternetNZ uses profits from the sale of .nz domain names to give out community funding. We provide funding for community-led initiatives that help to create an Internet that benefits all of Aotearoa.
These organisations received funding in 2022.