About us

Engage seeks to educate New Zealanders on government relations to improve democracy for us all.

Why we exist

Engage was set up in the interests of ensuring every New Zealander can have their voice heard by the Government. All they need is the right skills, tools and a little bit of tautoko, support.

Having worked with a range of clients - big and small, private and NGO - to help them access legislators, the penny dropped for Engage founder and long-time lobbyist, Holly Bennett: “These organisations don’t need a consultant - New Zealanders can be empowered to do this themselves!”

Hence, Engage.

Engage has set out to teach hundreds of New Zealanders each year how to influence the highest level of decision making about issues that matter to them. This will grow expertise in government relations, cultivate the next generation of open-minded leaders, and ensure we maintain a healthy democracy.

Grounded in the view that the true power of knowledge lies, not in the act of concealing but in sharing, Engage holds steadfast the following whakatauki:

Ko te manu e kai ana i te miro, nōna te ngahere. Ko te manu e kai ana i te mātauranga, nōna te ao.

The bird who feasts on the miro berry, theirs is the forest. The bird who feasts on knowledge, theirs is the world.

Who we are

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Holly Bennett

Founder and Approved Facilitator

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A full-time lobbyist, Holly (Te Arawa, Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Pikiao) lives in Tamaki Mākaurau. She is committed to sharing her government relations experience with others.

Before starting her own lobbying firm in 2017, Holly worked on the other side of the industry: as a Ministerial Advisor and In-House Legal Counsel in the Beehive.

An avid networker and proud millennial, Holly continues to look for ways to innovate government relations in Aotearoa, ensuring the expert industry is something everyone can access.

“Engage wants to shift deep-rooted, long held perceptions that lobbying is for the elite, the wealthy, the influential. The truth is that access to government and having your voice heard is a democratic right, and Engage wants to empower you to use it.”

What participants say

Before the session, our company was lost. We weren't able to recognise when our government relations were going good or going bad, let alone understand the reasons behind the outcomes. Thanks to Holly and the LOBBYLITE course, we now have much more clarity around our mistakes and how we can turn our failures into successes moving forward. It personally opened my eyes to how simple government relations can be with the right advice and resources, and strongly recommend the course to anyone who wants to engage with the government in an effective way.

James Koo Former Chief Executive, Niesh

Holly is an outstanding government relations consultant. She has the understanding of how to navigate government that only comes from experience and tenacity. Her advice is practical, easy to understand and her bubbly personality makes it a joy to work with her

Vivek Kumar Chief Executive, Quicksense

A fast paced, valuable, engaging and pragmatic workshop. Great to have a clear strategy for 2019 locked and loaded. ‘Central Government on Steroids’. Highly recommended.

Erin Wansbrough Chief Executive, SODA Inc

I would highly recommend the LOBBYLITE course! Even with my considerable experience working in the government and local government space, I still found that I learnt heaps! In particular, the make up and organisational and operational structure of our government. Understanding this can be quite powerful in so far as knowing what the internal communications channels look like and knowing the roles and responsibilities of the support staff…. I enjoyed Holly's delivery style which is relaxed but frank, this keeps things interesting and high energy from start to finish, without it dragging on. Well done, keep up the great work team!

Lee Timutimu Chief Executive, Arataki Trails

The LOBBYLITE course contains critical information about how to influence government thinking and direction that affects you, your business, your lifestyle, or your vocation. Having your voice heard is essential and LOBBYLITE taught us who to reach out to, who to canvas, which party or parties to talk to, when to start doing this, and how...in theory and with a practical session where you literally start planning your first lobbying! LOBBYLITE is taught in a short 4-hour session and you are literally entertained and surprised every minute of it with the dynamite Holly Bennett. If you get the chance to attend a LOBBYLITE course...take it!

Andrew Johnson Founder, Respondly

The LOBBYLITE training was just what the team needed to break the barriers to how to connect and communicate to Government. The presentation, tools and information shared with our businesses was so empowering. We developed an engagement plan to set up how we were going to develop partnerships and understand the political arena. Holly’s professional and fun personality drew the team in more and more and they became very interested in how the government actually works. As the Co-director/Owners of Cultivate Tribe and Hokioi Builders we recommend the training to all groups. I can see how this can support businesses from many angles.

Natasha Willison-Reardon Director, Cultivate Tribe

ENGAGE Guild

Members of the Engage Guild recognise and commit to the ethos that a better understanding of how to engage with government about the things that really matter to us, will improve our democracy for all.

Their financial contribution allows Engage to support our vision for the expert industry be something everyone can access.

Engage uses these donations to provide both reduced cost and free of charge seminars, strengthen our offerings and improve the nation’s understanding of what it means to ‘lobby’. If your organisation would like to become a member of the Engage Guild get in touch.

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