Terms of Reference


1. The Age friendly Aotearoa New Zealand programme (the Age friendly programme) is led by the Office for Seniors and provides guidance and support for communities that are exploring or committed to becoming age friendly. It supports the vision of the Better Later Life He Oranga Kaumātua 2019 to 2034 strategy, which is “Kia noho ora tonu ngā kaumātua – Older New Zealanders lead valued, connected and fulfilling lives.”

2. An age friendly community is one with the desire and commitment to create policies, social and physical environments that support the wellbeing of older people. Many local councils around Aotearoa New Zealand are working with their communities to develop age friendly strategies and plans based on the World Health Organization’s Age friendly Cities and Communities Framework (the Age friendly framework)

3. The Age friendly Aotearoa New Zealand Network (the Network) has been set up as part of the Age friendly programme. It aims to strengthen the support available for organisations leading community plans to improve the wellbeing of older people. It provides a forum for discussion, information sharing, learning, and mutual support between like-minded groups.


4. The purpose of the Network is to create a community of practice that supports organisations leading the development of age friendly strategies and implementing age friendly plans across Aotearoa New Zealand.


5. The objectives of the Network are to:

  • connect key staff from local councils and other groups that are leading the development of age friendly strategies and implementing age friendly action plans.
  • enable people that are leading age friendly strategies and action plans to learn from peers and share experiences. This may include sharing examples of successful projects, challenges, and lessons learnt, example through sharing information, presentations, peer review, discussions, and case studies.
  • promote the dissemination and uptake of evidence driven and innovative age friendly practice through enabling access to research and examples of good practice


6. The Network intends to bring together people from organisations that are leading or actively involved in driving/coordinating the development or implementation of age friendly strategies and plans. In keeping with Community Led Development principles, leadership of age friendly change may vary across different communities. In most cases local councils lead this work in partnership with community members but other community organisations, hapū or iwi, may also be leading local age friendly change.

7. Membership of the Network will be held by an organisation rather than by an individual. Member organisations will nominate up to two key contacts who will aim to consistently attend Network meetings and discussions where possible. From time to time, additional attendees may be invited to join Network sessions, for example, if there is a wider interest in a specific topic.

8. Other groups or organisations with an interest in age friendly approaches or who are starting out on an age friendly journey with their communities are not included in the membership of the Network. Support and advice for these organisations will continue to be available through the Office to help with getting started. The Office may also link them with Network members able to offer feedback about the lessons they’ve learnt when trying to gain buy-in and momentum to get work started.


9. To be eligible for Membership of the Network, councils and other relevant organisations must:

  • be able to demonstrate that they are taking credible and tangible steps towards developing an age friendly strategy or towards implementing an age friendly action plan for their community.
  • be leading the Age friendly strategy or plan for their community

Joining the Network

10. There is no cost to become a member of the Network. Organisations wanting to join the Network can apply to join by filling out an online registration form.

11. The Office is not responsible for any incidental costs arising from members’ participation in the Network.

Benefits of membership

12. The Network aims to provide an open and supportive environment that helps age friendly practitioners and organisations progress and seek feedback about their work through peer to peer learning.

Benefits of the Network include:

  • providing a safe environment for sharing achievements, challenges and lessons learnt
  • accessing the advice, skills, and experience of peers to help navigate tricky issues and strengthen their work
  • providing an opportunity to share and discuss age friendly research and innovation so that it can be applied in different communities

Expectations and Network values

13. As a community of practice, the Network will provide a safe learning environment for all members and will work best if all members participate in alignment with its values. The following values have been identified as a starting point and will be reviewed with members once the community of practice is operational:

  • Whakawhānaungatanga

We proactively build relationships with one another and seek to understand each other’s perspectives.

  • Ako

We share ideas, experiences and information with each other to learn and grow. Everybody has something valuable to contribute to the community of practice.

  • Kaitiakitanga

As leaders of this work with our communities we take responsibility for progressing the development of age friendly in Aotearoa New Zealand. We positively promote the Network and are willing to engage with others (members and non-members) about our work.

  • Manaakitanga

We make people feel welcome. We are respectful of one another and engage with each other in ways that are constructive and supportive.

  • Tika me te pono

We act with integrity and professionalism. We recognise and acknowledge the work of others and we keep sensitive information shared within the group private.

Communicating and meeting

14. The Network’s activities may include (but are not limited to):

  • regular online meetings and discussions facilitated by a designated chair with the aim of meeting once per quarter
  • hosting and participating in webinars and other online presentations
  • informal online discussions through an appropriate social media platform (such as a private LinkedIn group)
  • in-person meetings (where there are opportunities for this, such as an annual Age friendly Forum)
  • email updates and/or newsletters
  • direct contact between members
  • any other means that members agree would be beneficial

Network facilitation and administration

15. The Office will facilitate the Network in partnership with members. The Office’s responsibilities include:

  • working with members to support the achievement of the Network’s objectives
  • processing applications for membership and responding to queries
  • developing the Network’s programme and activities (in collaboration with members)
  • liaising with Network members to understand their needs
  • organising and providing secretariat functions for Network meetings and other activities
  • coordinating and sending communications to and on behalf of the Network (for example, newsletters and welcome emails)
  • administering any social media or other virtual platforms used for Network engagement and learning. This includes moderating social media comments and messages from group forums

16. Members are responsible for keeping information about their community, age friendly work and their organisation up to date. They will let the Office know if there are any changes.

17. The Office will keep the membership list up to date and review the membership of the Network annually. Member organisations that have not participated in Network activities for a prolonged period may be removed from the Network’s membership.

Network Leadership

18. Volunteers will be sought from Network members to form a small committee that helps to lead the Network and supports the Office with its facilitation tasks. Each year, the Network will seek expressions of interest for membership of the core group. This provides an opportunity for a range of member representatives to be involved in the leadership. This leadership structure will be reviewed as the Network develops with the intent that the leadership and development of the Network should be driven primarily from its members.


19. These Terms of Reference will be reviewed in October 2022, 12 months following the implementation of the Network.

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