The Constitution Conversation was held from February to July 2013. Over the course of the Conversation, members of the Constitutional Advisory Panel attended, supported and encouraged over 120 hui, community-hosted meetings and independent events such as academic conferences. These events covered the length and breadth of the country, from Kaitaia to Bluff, Gisborne to Taranaki, and Christchurch to Greymouth. Each host was supported to design a forum that best suited their community. The Panel offered funding for venue hire, catering and facilitation and provided event management if requested.
Information resources were developed to assist individuals and collectives making submissions, and to support communities to host their own conversations.
A submission guide was also developed to provide participants with brief information about the topics under consideration and guiding questions to assist them to develop submissions. Participants were also encouraged to comment on any other aspect of the topics and raise others if they wished to. Participants were asked to provide reasons for their views. The submission guide was also available in New Zealand Sign Language, Tongan, Cook Island Māori, Samoan, Chinese, Korean and Hindi.
The information resources were made available directly from the Panel’s website and hard copies could be requested through a toll-free number. For people interested in delving more deeply into constitutional issues, the website also provided a glossary, bibliography and links to external websites with further information.
A national media campaign in April raised awareness of the opportunity to participate, along with ongoing media releases. A further print and online campaign in July drew attention to the close of submissions at the end of July. The Facebook page received over 6,400 likes and the website 116,000 unique page views.
The Panel received 5,259 submissions from individuals and groups, reflecting a diversity of views. The conversations demonstrated that many individuals and groups were discussing their views with whānau, friends, iwi and communities. Many individual and group submissions represent the views of a range of people or represent views that are still developing as people continue to inform themselves and participate in conversations about our constitutional arrangements.