Why we're here

In 2012, the Common Unity Project Aotearoa started as a pilot project to explore the idea that, by inviting a community to partner with us and celebrating the strengths that we have, we might together address some challenges that affect us all.

We are a registered charity that works collaboratively with community, schools and organisations across Lower Hutt. Our Mission is to ensure Every Child has a Village. We believe that in order to achieve this, we need a collective response to meeting the needs of our children and developing our own resilient solution within our community.

We look to each other to strengthen our community from the inside out.

Welcome to our story. Our journey along the way has been one of learning, unification and transformation as we look to each other to strengthen our community from the inside out.

We are always happy to share our story and invite you to contact us. We invite collaboration and offer our successes, challenges and vision of an Aotearoa where all children are valued, treasured and have equal chances of health and participation.

It is my belief that it is time to review what makes an individual wealthy. To move beyond the measurement of wealth in terms of personal ownership and financial gain. To make significant changes in our communities, surely the family/individual who lives a life of connectedness, contribution and harmony to that of their wider community and environment is the wealthiest of them all?

Together, we grow our own solution.

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Julia Milne
CUPA Founder



Our team

We employ a team of people to manage our day-to-day operations, and keep the project running smoothly:

  • Lisa Matthews – Operations Director

  • Al Kilminster – Beekeeper

  • Monique Wanhill – The Common Grocer Manager / Administration

  • Tania Austin – Funding and Friendraising Manager

  • Simon and Ben from Biketec – ReCycled Rides Coordinators

  • Sew Good Coordinator

  • Hannah Zwartz – Urban Kai Farm Coordinator

  • Rochelle Browne – Community Cafe Manager

  • Stephen Templer – Artist in Residence.

  • Julia Milne - Founder, Development Director

Our board

The Common Unity Project Aotearoa is supported by an active Board of Trustees with diverse backgrounds and skills, who all volunteer their time to deliver better outcomes for our children and community:

  • Mary-Jane Rivers, chairperson

  • Julia Milne

  • Carolyn Watts

  • Kerrin Eckersley

  • Anna Griffiths

  • Anna McMartin.


Our supporters

The Common Unity Project Aotearoa was founded in a partnership with Epuni Primary School. Our thanks to the Board of Trustees, staff, students, whānau, 'āiga and families of Epuni School for their continuing support. We work collaboratively with a great number of stakeholders and supporters - a large whanau creating a new future.

We gratefully acknowledge the following funders for their recent financial support, alongside business sponsors who have donated their time and products in addition to the many community organisations who have generously donated to our project: