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Kiwis and Pomegranate: A Great Combination

New Zealanders, affectionately known as “Kiwis,” recently got a visit from Milenko Matanovic, Pomegranate Center’s Founder and Executive Director.

Organized by Beacon Pathway, a NZ-based nonprofit committed to transforming New Zealand’s homes and neighborhoods, this three week Teaching and Speaking Tour included multiple condensed Fellows Training sessions, Presentations, and Community Meetings.

Like Pomegranate Center, Beacon Pathway believes that working with people at a community level is key for change and development to be relevant, useful and positive. Inviting Milenko to come share his experience was their effort to offer opportunities for people to find out more, see successes that are directly relevant to the built environment and begin to work differently. In a mere three weeks, they were able to squeeze in training for nearly 100 people and see that Milenko’s numerous Speaking Engagements were well attended.

Feedback has been phenomenal so far. Pomegranate Center’s process of community engagement and collaboration being essential for successful community projects seems to really resonate with New Zealanders.

“Milenko’s workshop has been one of the best I’ve had the opportunity to be part of. I’ve really enjoyed his approach – explaining how we come to be involved in this work, the learnings he’s got from other thinkers and writers, and the experience with the Pomegranate Center. The practical tools and opportunities during the workshop to try them out have been really fantastic. The importance of certainty, parameters, and ways of truly giving people a voice-Through assertive facilitation based ground rules is refreshing. Energizing!!”

 “Thank you for this excellent workshop. Full of very practical information I will take away and use in many facets of community work and development, In particular the tools of being a facilitator, and absolute need for clarity and brevity. All delivered in an engaging, enjoyable, real, interesting way. Best workshop I’ve done – FULL STOP!”

 “Fabulous and inspiring process and ideas to engage communities – coupled with practical tools – and delivered in wonderful humor”

 “An amazing two days, so much information and all of it is practical. I am looking forward to using this on my next project”

 “Essential, useful information that will increase the likelihood of successful community participation in developing and activating a community project.”

In the words of Beacon Pathway’s Neighborhoods Program Manager, Denise Bijoux, “The trick after Milenko goes will be how Beacon and others support them to practice, adapt and grow these skills, and share them with others.” Despite the geographical distance, we hope we can be of service in those efforts as well.

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Port Blakely Companies generously assisted Milenko to travel to Christchurch and provided scholarships for five community leaders to attend Milenko’s two day workshop. As a family-owned company with forestland holdings in New Zealand under the stewardship of Blakely Pacific Ltd., Port Blakely Companies is committed to cultivating a healthy world through support of sustainable community development and the responsible management of forest resources.

IAG, New Zealand’s largest insurer, supported Milenko’s workshops providing venues and sustenance. IAG also hosted community conversations in Auckland and Christchurch where community leaders were provided an overview of the Pomegranate Center’s work and discussed the opportunity to work collaboratively across their respective cities.