The 80’s were arguably one of the greatest decades, leaving an unrivalled legacy of movies, music, hairstyles and fashion! The 80’s was also the era New Zealand’s local government was last reformed, giving rise to our city, district and regional councils. But 40 years is a long time ago and Aotearoa is changing and it’s time to start thinking about how our local communities needs to change too.  

In 2021 an independent Ministerial review was established to look at the future of local government. This includes everything from how its funded to how communities make decisions about the things that affect them. A key part of this review is a national conversation that will help shape what our local democracy will look like.

Working with Massey University’s Toi Aria, we built a digital engagement tool  - Get Vocal in Your Local - that helps people share their values and future aspirations for their communities.

Participants are asked to choose a location in Aotearoa that they want to help shape the future for. This could be where they live, where their whānau live, or where they whakapapa to.  They are then invited to share their dreams and vision for this place in 2050 including who should have the most sway in the decisions affecting the place and its people.

While anyone is welcome to use the digital tool, Get Vocal in Your Local, was designed to target a younger audience who may not be as engaged or knowledgeable about how local government operates at the moment.

Built in Umbraco, the tool takes a mobile first approach and uses techniques common to online gaming, meaning the tool behaves more like an online conversation than a survey, making it more accessible to the target audience.

Users are offered prompts throughout the conversation to learn more about how local democracy currently works, serving to educate as well as engage. 

On completing the survey participants can view how their results compare to other before submitting their entry.  Data collected by Get Vocal in Your Local will help shape the Review’s draft recommendations to the Minister of Local Government which will be published in October 2022.  

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