Ground-Breaking Leadership Development: RUKU AO

Ruku Ao enables leaders to deliver on the complex challenges of our time. It is a learning-by-doing programme that leverages across sectors and across paradigms.

Participants ‘window in’ on the Arts and Marae-based practices of Toi Whakaari (Wellington) and Manutuke Marae (Gisborne).

These approaches have a proven capacity to build the emotional intelligence of groups. Participants are then guided in testing these approaches in their own contexts.

Ruku Ao builds capacity by leveraging difference and diversity. It is a unique New Zealand response to our cultural context.

Leadership thinking is beginning to focus more strongly on:

  • The importance of teams of leaders
  • Leading effectively across boundaries.

Ruku Ao is working to combine these factors into a uniquely New Zealand response to New Zealand’s own particular environment and challenges.

This response centres around creating learning experiences that focus less on theory and more on fostering curiosity, courage, adaptiveness and the concrete application of better ways to work with groups.

Ruku Ao is deeply experiential and collaborative. Participants learn from observing, leading each other and designing changes in their own environments.

It emerges out of a collaboration between leaders from Treasury and other public sector agencies, along with Toi and Manutuke Marae.

Ruku Ao builds small networks of high-trust relationships that support more effective distributed leadership.

It creates a strong sense of community and identity in leaders, exposing them to the challenges of what it means to create meaningful and authentic changes in their settings.

For individuals, skills are deepened in four key areas:

  1. Improved confidence in complexity
  2. More astute in group settings
  3. Raised cultural intelligence
  4. Greater personal enterprise.

Ruku Ao suits people who:

  • Understand the challenges of leading across boundaries
  • Are curious about finding new ways to solve complex challenges
  • Are prepared to be vulnerable and work in the unknown
  • Are willing to reassess some previously held ideas about leadership
  • Want to create tangible differences in their settings
  • Are prepared to position themselves not as experts, but as learners
  • Are wanting to find better ways of approaching regional or place-based development.

In 2019 we are particularly keen to work with people who are facing challenges involving:

  • The intersection of very diverse communities or settings
  • Regional or place-based development
  • Health policy, particularly how it relates to indigenous communities
  • Environmental initiatives – particularly water quality
  • Education and the changing nature of learning and work.