We set out to find lessons for good governance for non-profit and community organisations in Aotearoa New Zealand, by focussing on the strengths and capacities, especially of particularly well regarded boards. The research is in two parts: a brief web-based survey of over 300 organisations; and in-depth follow up interviews with seven organisations identified by the larger group as being especially well governed. The later includes four Pakeha/mainstream boards, two Tangata Whenua boards and a Pasefika board. We find that technical skills and conventional ‘shopping lists’ of ‘good practice’ (while they can be useful) do not make the difference between good enough governance and being particularly well governed. We discover instead two common confessions of particularly effective boards, and the importance of soft skills, social interactions, and nurturing a positive culture that enable five special features of especially effective boards.