Tēnā koutou katoa. The Board would like to update members on a number of recent changes it has made to its independence and governance, as well as provide further clarification on the two review processes which are currently underway, and expectations for ongoing communication.
Arise Board Independence
Two additional non-executive Trustees were appointed on 15 April 2022.
The Board unanimously passed a resolution amending the Arise Trust Deed to further enhance its independence. The amendment has removed the requirement for any new member to be appointed and/or approved by a single individual, and made the appointment of any new Trustee or Member of the Board subject instead to a two thirds majority of the Board only.
Further amendments to the Arise Trust Deed, the Board structure, and the operation of the Board are expected to be made once a full legal review is complete.
The Board is also underway with a process to appoint additional non-executive Trustees as members of the Board. Further updates will be provided on the appointment of these Trustees as they are made.
The Independent Processes
The Board wishes to clarify that it has commissioned two separate processes to be carried out by parties which are independent from the Board and Arise. The first process, conducted by Pathfinding, is an independent channel for people to share their experiences, while the second is an independent legal review conducted by a New Zealand law firm, Duncan Cotterill.
Pathfinding is an independent communication channel which has been set up in order to receive feedback from anyone, including former and current members, volunteers and employees, who wish to share any experiences relating to Arise Church.
This process was established in order to ensure that there is a safe and confidential avenue for individuals to share their experiences and stories. Pathfinding have assured the Board that information received from individuals will be anonymised and kept confidential, however, persons who contact Pathfinding to raise issues, will also be given the opportunity to ‘go on the record’ about the information they are providing, if that is their choice. This could include being given information regarding how to make a formal complaint. Pathfinding’s process is completely independent from Arise and will also be subject to peer review.
Following Pathfinding’s process being completed, the findings will be shared with the Board and will also be made publicly available. More information regarding Pathfinding and this process can be located here.
The Board have also commissioned an independent legal process which is currently being conducted by Duncan Cotterill in order to review Arise’s:
Duncan Cotterill’s review will also make further recommendations to the Board in respect of all employment and workplace related matters moving forward.
The process of engaging an independent law firm to conduct a workplace culture and human resources review was undertaken by the non-executive members of the Board in December 2021.
Separate Mechanism for Individual Complaints
The Arise Board continues to acknowledge the hurt and pain expressed publicly, and wishes to reiterate that due to sensitivity and privacy concerns, we are unable to comment on any specific allegations or individual employment matters.
However, the Board wishes to make it absolutely clear that allegation(s) formally raised during either of the two processes outlined above will be independently investigated in accordance with the principles of natural justice and the Private Security Personnel and Private Investigators Act 2010.
The Board is committed to conducting robust, fair and independent processes.
Ongoing Updates and Communication
The Board will endeavour to make regular, ongoing updates as the independent processes continue. However, we wish to reiterate that as a result of privacy concerns, Arise is unable to comment on any specific allegations. Further, we also request our members, the media and the public respect the privacy and welfare of current and former members, volunteers, and staff who have shared their experiences.
We also acknowledge that many staff, pastors and church family have a desire to see truth prevail, and our intention is to provide a way forward for people to safely share experiences and bring any necessary change required.
As a Board we also wish to express our appreciation and gratitude for Arise Church Campus Pastors, staff who are on the ground in each local community across the country, and who deeply care for the people in their congregation. We appreciate your prayer and support for them during this time.