Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Beyond Aid: Sustainable Community-Owned Cooperative Business

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posted on 2021-11-12, 12:58 authored by Scotts, Margaret

This thesis seeks to answer the question as to how the Colville Cooperative Society has withstood social and economic change where many other rural businesses offering similar services, in similar rural communities have failed. Joint entrepreneurship is a demanding form of entrepreneurship. Democracy is manage and difficult to sustain. What role does the organisation's cooperative principles and community ownership play in its sustainability? The research seeks to expand the knowledge of community-owned cooperative business as a viable alternative for community economic development; expand the New Zealand research on cooperative models; provide insight for cooperative member's to reflect on past successes and challenges in order to improve practice; and share knowledge about what makes a community-owned business work. The study found that the sustainability of the Colville Cooperative was dependant on several key factors. First amongst these is that the enterprise provides what the community needs. This is the basis of support for the enterprise and can overcome structural disadvantages. Vision and leadership that cleaves to the cooperative's principles, aims and objectives was just as important. To bring to expression and sustain these there had also had to be adequate business skills, and business continuity. It is the thesis of this research that the sustainability of the cooperative rests partly in the core beliefs and organising skills of the people who started it, partly in the resilience of cooperative forms of enterprise, and partly in the willingness and capacity of the community to sustain it. It is argued this type of community owned cooperative, where assets and shares are effectively held in trust on behalf of the community, can create a common wealth which frees communities from unsustainable sources of income, and creates viable enterprises that are independent of changing government policy fashions.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Development Studies

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Development Studies

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences


Taylor, Nicholas