Rākau Tautoko works alongside communities to build engagement and empowerment

Rākau Tautoko is an Auckland-based social enterprise undertaking community-related projects, community research and development advice, facilitation and leadership.  We are a network of skilled, creative and like-minded practitioners who enjoy working together and take pride in doing high quality community work.

Rākau Tautoko creates supportive opportunities for community practitioners to develop their knowledge and skills, apply their philosophy and exercise appropriate accountabilities.

Our kaupapa is to hold true to our name and grow slowly with strength… 

Rākau 1. (noun) tree, stick, timber, wood, plant.

…through the concept of support, acceptance and advocacy.

Tautoko 1. (verb) to support, prop up, verify, advocate, accept, agree.

Growing slowly, branching out with different projects enables us to reach our goal of strengthening community members to be the best tuakana they can be. Rākau Tautoko takes time to develop a strong foundation of knowledge, experience and application in communities.

To help Rākau Tautoko guide our work, we have a constitution that aligns our practice to charitable purposes. For more information, check out our About section.


“Rākau Tautoko has been a long time dream and it’s exciting to finally see it come into fruition. We are starting with small projects, working alongside good people with good hearts, supporting each other in the work that we do together. Let’s see what happens from here.”

– Tara Moala

Rākau Tautoko refers to the branches of a tree reaching out, growing and gaining strength. Innately connected to each other and firmly grounded in good practice and accountability.

Rākau Tautoko is a collective of skilled and creative practitioners that work well individually and together. The collective creates opportunities to share experiences, empower and motivate each other for high quality practise.

There is no limit to how and which direction our branches will grow – as long as they support the development of tuakana within communities. We are limited only by our imagination. A key focus for the practitioners of Rākau Tautoko is to maintain high quality community work and appropriate accountability. Because of this, Rākau Tautoko require all of our consultants to reflect on their practice regularly, and seek supervision if and when possible.

To maintain accountability, we have charitable status (CC57080) and have created a constitution to enable us to align our practice to specific purposes. Our full constitution can be downloaded here. In our constitution, our main purpose is:

  • to build engagement and empowerment in communities by: 
    • assisting community groups to co-design programmes that produce a positive social impact (including by supporting whānau to develop healthy relationships to help combat family violence and improving the wellbeing of rangatahi);
    • undertaking research, development and training to contribute to building engagement in empowerment in communities (including by supporting whānau to develop healthy relationships to help combat family violence and improving the wellbeing of rangatahi); and
  • such other charitable purposes as the Board may decide.

In addition, our constitution states that all the assets and profits of Rākau Tautoko are for the benefit of charitable purposes in New Zealand. This allows our collective to hold strong to our values and maintain our focus on the needs of our community. If we do have a surplus of funds from any contract or project we hold, we ensure that those funds are then tagged for the same purpose and spent to further grow that purpose. 

Click here for a one pager on Rākau Tautoko.

Our Principles

Rākau Tautoko principles are based on Tāmaki Inclusive Engagement Strategy (TIES). The tools, framework and principles of TIES provides a community created, owned and driven strategy in how to engage and empower community members.


Our Way Of Working

3 Key Non-negotiables to help guide us…

  1. The community we will work alongside asks/wants us to be there.
  2. Whatever is created, belongs to that community, not the funders or helpers.
  3. There are enough resources (people, space, time, money, kai) to do the mahi.

Use of Te Reo

Rākau Tautoko acknowledges that Te Reo Māori is an important taonga of Aotearoa. It is the indigenous language of this land and the gateway to the Māori world. We are by no means fluent, however we will endeavour to strive to use Te Reo as much as possible, especially where meanings are better understood in Te Reo. We also understand that not everyone has Te Reo knowledge and therefore we welcome anyone to contact us if we use any Māori that you don’t know or understand.

Tōku reo tōku ohooho

My language, my awakening

Branches of our Work

“Like the branches of a tree, our projects will head in different directions but our roots will remain steadfast and strong.”

The following are the ways in which Rākau Tautoko are able to offer support. Click through for relevant examples.

We do get very busy working in the community, so if you would like to know more about our more recent projects and initiatives, please do reach out and get in touch! We’ll endeavour to update these examples as soon as we have a breather!


The Rākau Tautoko blog is a record of the different activities that our practitioners have been involved in since our launch at the beginning of 2017.

It also shows the activities that Tara has been involved in and led since she joined the community of Tāmaki in 2005.

The work is varied, but is connected in that it is focused on working alongside community members and building empowering initiatives.

See a snippet below and click through to see the blog in entirety…

30th June 2022

Today I visited Shannon first who is very easy to work with. She has gardened before by just digging up some of her lawn, but never had any tools, a raised garden or really good soil. Her dog had been a pain pooing wherever she gardened, so we are exploring options to keep him out. …

23rd June 2022

My first visit of the day was Rose’s planting. Her garden was set up a few weeks ago but with whanau commitments and covid out of the way I could finally come in to plant. She had a 9 and 10 year old there whom she had whangaied when they were babies and she is …

15th May 2022

Seven visits planned for today but already had one postponed first thing. First up *Ailana and *Makamae, who came through Kesi and live almost opposite each other. Both have quite a bit growing wild and untended, which is a great way to garden in my opinion. At this point mostly taro and kūmara, from which …

Get in Touch

Tara is the link to the collective of practitioners that work through Rākau Tautoko. Get in touch to talk about any possible initiatives you think we could help make great!

Tara Moala – Founder, Managing Director

022 589 6604