The winners of the 2023 LGFA Taituarā Excellence Awards were announced at our Gala Dinner on 8 June 2023 at the TSB Arena in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington. Find out more about the winners and view the photo gallery.
This category recognises programmes, projects, or initiatives that provide tangible benefits to the environment, or showcase leading practice in managing environmental impacts in the local community. The approach taken must be capable of transfer to, or application, by other local authorities.
The first entry has been submitted by Queenstown Lakes District Council. The Whare Mahana Luggate Memorial Centre is Aotearoa New Zealand's first Passive House community venue.
A Passive House building is designed to optimise the health and wellbeing of those inside it, while consuming very little energy Typically, a Passive House takes a 90 to 95 per cent less energy per year to heat.
The second has been submitted by Thames-Coromandel District Council. The Shoreline Management Pathways Project has generated a set of over a hundred different adaptation pathways for managing hazards and risks in the coastal environment. This highly transferable entry deals with a challenge every local authority with a coastline faces.
This award and the Gala Dinner would not be possible without the sponsorship of GHD. This is the fourth year GHD has sponsored a category in the Excellence Awards. Taituarā thanks them (and our other sponsors) for their ongoing support.
This year’s entries in the GHD Award for Environmental Leadership are:
This award recognises programmes, projects or initiatives that demonstrate outstanding results through excellent community engagement or community empowerment. Entries may come from any area of local government activity, but must have community engagement, empowerment, or partnership as a key aspect, especially those undertaken over and above statutory requirements. Entries may include successful collaboration with private or community organisations. The approach taken must be transferable to other local authorities.
Ten local authorities have submitted entries for the Minister’s Award for Council Community Relations, making this the largest category in this year’s LGFA Taituarā Excellence Awards®.
“As always, the entries in this category showcase two of the major strengths of local government” Chief Advisor Raymond Horan says. “These are its closeness to our local communities and our knowledge of our communities. These two factors go together to make local government a partner in the governance of New Zealand.”
“Local government is long past ‘writing a plan, allowing people a month to write a response and then holding a hearing in a drafty hall” Raymond says. “In these entries we see examples of co-design from the ‘ground up’ (in some cases literally), and empowerment of communities to deliver or decide for themselves. All public sector agencies could draw lessons from these”.
Many of the best examples from this year’s competition will feature in upcoming Taituarā learning and development events, most notably the February 2024 Community Engagement Forum.
The entries range in scale from the regeneration of a community hit by the Christchurch earthquakes of 2010 and 2011, to a programme to return or rehome impounded dogs.
“There is a strong regeneration and renewal ‘vibe’ to this year’s entries in the Minister’s Award” Raymond says “in addition to the community regeneration programme, there are three renewals/redesign of community facilities among the entries.”
Raymond notes that the winners of this category have historically had great success when it comes time to judge the LGFA Supreme Award. Since Taituarā moved to the current awards format in 2015, four of the eight supreme award winners have first won the Minister’s Award. This includes the winners in each of the last two years – the Transfer of Panepane Purukau (Western Bay of Plenty District Council) and Te Hiku o te Ika Revitalisation (Far North District Council).
This year’s entries in The Minister of Local Government’s Award for Excellence in Council-Community Relations are:
Hei whakanui tēnei kāwai i ngā hōtaka, i ngā kaupapa, i ngā kōkiri rānei e kitea ai kua puta he tino hua, nā te mahi kōtui me ngāi Māori. E āhei ana te tuku tono mai i ngā wāhanga kāwanatanga ā-rohe katoa, engari me mātua whakakite i te mahi kōtui me ngāi Māori.
This category recognises programmes, projects or initiatives that demonstrate outstanding results from working in partnership with Māori. Entries may come from any area of local government activity, but must be able to demonstrate a commitment to partnership with Māori.
Buddle Findlay partner, Paul Beverley says "we are delighted to partner with Taituarā in relation to this award that recognises the mahi and collaboration between Māori and councils across Aotearoa. There are impressive partnerships emerging and it is important to see that leadership recognised."
“Modern local government recognises that Māori are a partner in the governance of New Zealand” Chief Advisor Raymond Horan says. “Local government walks the talk by actively seeking ways it can partner with Māori to promote the wellbeing of the community”.
In amongst the entries this year are a heritage project, a climate resilience programme, a transfer of land ownership as the precursor to economic and community development, and two broader frameworks for enhancing outcomes for Māori.
“We continue to be pleasantly surprised by the breadth of the entries – every aspect of community wellbeing is included in at least one of the entries.”
This year’s entries in Te Tohu Waka Hourua – The Buddle Findlay Award for Māori-Council Partnerships are:
The award recognises successful results from the application of a digital or technological solution. Entries might involve the transformation or redesign of a service or business process, the use of technology to better enable community participation in the democratic process, the development or use of an evidence base or other use of technological or digital means to achieve a great outcome for the community.
“Successful councils make decisions based on what they know and not what they think they know” Chief Advisor Raymond Horan says. “We’re pleased to see two of New Zealand’s growth authorities entering projects that show a robust, technology based approach to estimating the need for future development capacity”.
The other three projects in this year’s awards involve the use of a technological solution to improve a service (or in the case of the Christchurch one to establish a means for managing a community safety risk).
The award sponsor, Datacom is proud to support this newly established award. They believe that putting technology in the hands of local councils and their community can transform customer service expectations and significantly increase valuable community interactions and engagement.
This year’s entries in the Datacom Award for Digital Local Government are:
This category recognises approaches that build an exceptional organisational culture or capability through the application of transformational leadership. Entries in this category might be multi-year programmes or one-off projects but they will involve organisational redesign, human resource management, leadership development or other means of building organisational or staff capability. The approach must be capable of transfer to other local authorities.
“Local authorities are investing in their people and in developing their organisations again” Chief Advisor Raymond Horan says. “This has to be one of the more pleasing trends from this year’s crop of awards entries”.
Raymond was reflecting on the level of entries in the Capability Group Award for Excellence in Organisation and People Development. The six entries received represent the highest level of entries in this category since 2018 (five entries), and is double the number of entries in this category in 2021 and 2022.
“It is all too tempting for local authorities to prune expenditures on staff training and organisational development projects when times are tight” Raymond says “but this if often a false economy is it has a dividend in a lack of staff engagement, retention issues and ultimately a reduced service experience”.
“In the past two years many of the entries we received focused on new ways of working in the pandemic such as remote working. All of the entries received this year have targeted staff wellbeing and engagement as a precursor to enhancing the public services the entrant councils provide.”
This year’s entries in the Capability Group Award for Excellence in Organisation and People Development are:
This award recognises programmes or projects that shape or create a vibrant local economy, local culture or promote the achievement of positive social outcomes. Any project or programme in these areas may be entered, but it must be able to demonstrate it is transferrable to other local authorities. We see this as being in keeping with the wellbeing focus of the sector, now and in the future.
Community asset projects make up the majority of the seven entries entered into this year’s Beca Award for Placemaking. This includes entries from Hastings, Kāpiti Coast, Nelson, and Whangārei.
“Assets such as parks, museums, and libraries are not frilly, nice to haves, but are critical to creating modern vibrant communities” Chief Advisor Raymond Horan says. “In a world where labour and capital are highly mobile, place is an important part of any locality's competitive offering. Place helps shape quality of life, one of the more important factors in restoring the flow of skilled labour disrupted by border closures”.
Rounding out this year’s crop of entrants are a walking and cycling strategy, a town centre transformation, and a combined public safety/crime prevention initiative.
“We introduced this category two years ago expecting that almost all the entrants would involve constructed projects” Raymond says. “We have been pleasantly surprised that local authorities are submitting ideas that go beyond ‘building something’”.
One of the pleasing common features to many of these entries is that there have been significant elements of co-design in the development of councils' proposed solutions.
“A vibrant space isn’t designed by one person in isolation. Many of the entries involved the community at ground level – in the initial stages. Without this, community assets become unloved white elephants”.
“Places in Aotearoa are a part of our collective memory. As they change this provides an opportunity to retain and create new connections to place and the environment. A clear foundation in strategy and governance, underpinned by an inclusive approach partnering with mana whenua and community engagement and a nimble approach to programme delivery leads to the rich and varied outcomes seen in these entries” says Annette Jones, Senior Principal and Technical Fellow – Urban Design at Beca.
This year’s entries in the Beca Award for Placemaking are:
This award recognises outstanding results that have been achieved through local authorities working with other government agencies. This category could include programmes or projects from any area of local government activity, provided there is a demonstrable community benefit, and the approach is transferable to other local authorities.
The local government sector’s strengths at partnering and collaborating to achieve great outcomes for the community are well demonstrated by this year’s entries into the LGFA Taituarā Excellence Awards.
There have been eight entries in the MartinJenkins Award for Collaborative Government Action. This category is for action taken by local authorities in collaboration with other government agencies – central or local.
“It has long been true that of the strengths of the sector has been its willingness to collaborate and share with each other” says Chief Advisor Raymond Horan. “The entries this year reflect just how much and how well the sector partners with others to deliver.”
“This reinforces one of our key messages to successive governments – that no one sector or group has all the answers to the policy and service challenges of the 21st century. And it's something that stands local communities in good stead as we consider the future of local governance.”
The entries this year cover economic development, housing, infrastructure management and funding, sediment reduction in a coastal environment, and planning for growth.
There are a couple of ‘firsts’ among this year’s entries. The combined Nelson/Tasman entry Working Together to Plan for our Communities’ Futures is understood to be the first adopted Future Development Strategy. Similarly the Tauranga City Council represents the first approved special-purpose vehicle under the infrastructure funding and financing legislation.
This year’s entries in the MartinJenkins Award for Collaborative Government Action are: