Our Humanity

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” ~ Mother Teresa.


If someone were to ask you “what is humanity?” What would you say? Would it be love, compassion, empathy or kindness? Would it be how you are with others or with yourself? Do you think of what it means to be human or about how human we are with each other? Is it individual or is it how we are together?

The Aotearoa Humanity Project began as a small idea with a group of kiwis who wanted to rediscover their and our humanity. They formed a ‘collective’ so that together they could create an action plan to promote the wellbeing of New Zealanders. In 2017, we began in Auckland and over three years, we heard from more than 1,000 Aucklanders. 

Early in 2020, after receiving feedback from communities across Aotearoa, we decided to spread our wings and share the mission of our work across our beautiful nation.  Our hope is that through the Aotearoa Humanity Project, despite the distances that keep us apart, we may be able to connect, share and support each other, together growing our humanity.

How it works

Each month we ask New Zealanders one question. We then share your responses via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Together, your experiences tell a bigger story and help us all understand and grow our humanity.

We hope that by growing our humanity we can, in turn, grow opportunities for kindness, compassion, empathy and hope, encourage healthy relationships, safer communities, and more connection and caring in our neighbourhoods, workplaces, schools and homes.

Your story of humanity matters, no matter how big or small. We hope that this much-loved project might be the ticket to a brighter future for us all. Thank you for joining us; we hope you are enriched by the experience.


*These stories deal with both sides of humanity and may be distressing to some. If you would like some help or information, visit the Family Services Directory or phone Lifeline on 0800 543 354.

What we know about humanity

Research shows these eight factors help build safer, happier and healthier people, families, whānau and communities.

Celebrating Diversity – we respect, value, and celebrate our differences.

Healthy Relationships – we show respect and empathy in all the ways we relate with people whether they’re strangers, acquaintances, or those close to us.

Helping and Healing – we reach out to show care and support for others and do positive things to support our own health & wellbeing.

Oranga Tamariki – we care for and are a positive role model to all children in our lives.

Social Connection – our interactions with one another create a sense of belonging and encourage community participation.

Gender Equity – we support the sharing of power and resources fairly, so all people can realise their full potential.

Cultural Identity – we know who we are and are proud of where we come from.

Non-Violent Social Norms – we resolve conflict peacefully and speak out against beliefs and actions that support using violence.

In addition to these factors, we have also the greatest respect for the work of our friends at E Tū Whānau. Through a series of hui across Aotearoa, they asked people to share what they saw and heard in strong thriving whānau. This knowledge was distilled into six key values that we think beautifully highlight our humanity.

Aroha – Giving with no expectation of return

Whanaungatanga – It’s about being connected

Whakapapa – Knowing who you are and where you belong

Mana / Manaaki – Building the mana of others, through nurturing, growing and challenging

Kōrero Awhi – Positive communication and actions

Tikanga – Doing things the right way, according to our values

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