Community Development Worker Kaiāwhina Whakawhanake Hapori

Community development workers support people to develop and implement plans to make improvements in their community.

Community development workers may do some or all of the following:

  • develop networks and encourage connections within a community
  • support people to take leadership of community initiatives
  • work with community members to identify their needs, aspirations and existing resources
  • support community groups to develop and apply realistic long-term plans
  • help people work through conflict and achieve their goals
  • support community groups to access funding and set up partnerships with other organisations such as iwi, businesses and district and city councils
  • apply for grants
  • co-ordinate, establish, report on and maintain community projects
  • keep up to date with community events
  • help community groups to build on successes and learn from failures.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for community development workers includes:

  • youth work 
  • social work, counselling and local government work
  • work with community or community development organisations
  • leading a group or organisation.

Personal Qualities

Community development workers need to be:

  • outgoing and positive
  • excellent listeners and communicators
  • highly skilled at both leadership and motivating others  
  • able to keep information private 
  • extremely well organised, with good planning skills.


Community development workers need to have:

  • the ability to engage with diverse groups of people 
  • an understanding of approaches that focus on the strengths and assets of people and communities 
  • knowledge of running projects and reporting
  • knowledge of applying for grants and report writing
  • an understanding of advocacy, policies and government funding available to help communities 
  • knowledge of the specific community they work in and its languages and cultures. 


Community development workers:

  • may work irregular hours, including weekends and evenings
  • work in offices, community centres and marae
  • travel locally to attend meetings.

Subject Recommendations

There are no specific secondary education requirements to become a community development worker. However health education, social studies, te reo Māori, English, maths, and accounting are useful. 

Community Development Workers can earn around $60K-$80K per year.

Pay for community development workers varies depending on skills, experience and where they work.

  • Community development workers usually earn between $60,000 and $80,000 a year. 

Community development workers employed by local community groups often work part time in casual roles.

Source: Seek, 2023.

Community development workers may move into team leader or project management roles.

Years Of Training

To become a community development worker you need to have relevant paid or voluntary work experience in community development or engagement.

Tertiary qualifications in social work or social practice may be useful, particularly with strands in community development or management of non-profit organisations.

Project and event management training and experience is also useful.

The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 means that if you have certain serious convictions, you can’t be employed in a role where you are responsible for, or work alone with, children. 

Community Development Worker