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How ActionStation trains volunteers to spread love online

In 2019, we ran three pilot programmes to train and support volunteers to engage with people who leave racist comments online to see if they can facilitate more caring, thoughtful and informed dialogue.

The programme is called Tauiwi Tautoko (non-Māori acting in support of Māori) and runs for 10 weeks weaving together online training and in-person gatherings to provide volunteers with the tools, community and courage to participate in online conversations about race with evidence-based listening and messaging techniques.

Our volunteer coordinator Ann and 20 Tauiwi Tautoko volunteers

“Tauiwi Tautoko has given me so much hope by seeing from real practical work that with small acts of compassion we can overcome the hate.” ― Amy (2018 participant)​

Research shows that ‘calling people out’ can limit their capacity for reason, empathy, and self-reflection. Yet call-out culture is prominent online, increasing polarisation. Research also shows that fact-checking and myth-busting does not work for shifting hearts and minds.

Because of that the techniques used in this programme are informed by experts in restorative justice, values-based messaging, and active listening. It has been informed by Māori values of aroha (love, breath of god), manaakitanga (uplifting mana, generosity, care, hospitality), whanaungatanga (building familial connections) and whakarongo (listening in the spirit of peace).

Since we launched more than 150 volunteers have taken part in the programme.

In 2020, we are developing Tauiwi Tautoko into an e-learning program so that individuals and organisations who want to replicate the process will be able to take advantage of the learning in their own time. This will allow us to scale our impact and share the love.

The first pilot of Tauiwi Tautoko

A quick note from our team: Around Aotearoa and the world there is a small but committed group of people who donate to ActionStation every month. They are some of the unseen heroes in these stories who nurture our campaigns from the moment they spark into existence to the moment they win.

If you feel moved after reading about what we achieved together, please consider setting up a regular contribution.