Registrations are open for our 2020 Annual Summit (sponsored by Simpson Grierson)

About this event

Communities in Aotearoa and internationally are dealing with the impact of the COVID-19 response with challenges such as reduced income, retrenched employment, restricted movement and future uncertainty.

What does this mean for our sector in a post-COVID environment? How can we continue to care for our communities, support our economies and protect our environments to enable community well-being?

This year we’re hitting the road and coming to you! Join us in Christchurch or Taupō, in-person or online, to learn from each other, catch up with colleagues from across the sector and hear from some inspiring speakers.

These events replace our Annual Summit format and provide an opportunity for local government professionals to connect and network in their regions. The delivery of keynote sessions and live panel interviews will be both on-location and online.


Taituarā Member Registration: $550+GST

Non-member or Public Sector Registration: $680+GST

Private Sector Registration: $750+GST

Online Registration: $250+GST


Tuesday 15th September

8.30am Powhiri/Welcome

9am Keynote – Laura O'Connell Rapira, ActionStation

Dr Martin Luther King Jr said that the moral arc of the universe bends towards justice. But how does it do that? Not on its own. In this talk, Laura O'Connell Rapira will take us from the past to the present to the future, and make the case that the future can be better than we think -- but only if we're willing to take collective action.

9.45am Keynote - Lessons from a small country

Jane Davidson, Pro Vice-Chancellor Emeritus, University of Wales Trinity Saint David

Thoughtful governments around the world are considering how best to respond to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and, by extension, how to incorporate well-being principles into policy.

The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act was proposed by Jane Davidson when she was Minister of Environment, Sustainability and Housing, and introduced in April 2015. The Act makes sustainable development the central organising principle of government and the public sector. As a result, Wales is the first country in the world to introduce legislation to protect future generations. All Public Services Boards carry out well-being assessments as part of their compliance with the Act and these are monitored by the Future Generations’ Commissioner for Wales.

Jane will discuss the Welsh experience, and its parallels with Aotearoa, drawing on Taituarā’s community well-being approaches and critical transitions for the future.

10.30am Morning tea

11am Local Panel – The power of collective leadership

Dawn Baxendale (Christchurch City Council), Cheryl de la Rey (University of Canterbury) & David Meates (Canterbury District Health Board)

Collective leadership outside organisation boundaries creates a positive impact for communities, promoting community and citizen engagement. Dawn, David and Cheryl will discuss the synergy of collective leadership that they bring to Canterbury and the benefits of this in the face of the community challenges that the region has faced.

12pm Simpson Grierson lunch

12.45pm BERL Keynote - Our future - are we there yet?

Ganesh Nana, BERL

We started 2020 with a dose of cynicism as yet another crisis was given the inglorious ‘unprecedented’ title. Once the cynicism wore off, we rightly retreated to our bunkers while protecting those most dear to us. Then we gained strength and new-found value in being connected to a community. The team of 5 million was born.

But we remain restless as we feel far removed from the comfort of the normal with which we were so familiar. The future is (and will be) more challenging than it ever was – more so for those whose previous normal was far from comfortable.

The importance of community, and newly defined perspectives of and objectives for the economy, could help us shape a promising future for all. Or we could choose to ignore the challenges, which may guarantee comfort for the few while the many remain vulnerable.

1.30pm Keynote – Arihia Bennett, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu

Arihia Bennett is the CEO of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, the entity that represents the interests of Ngāi Tahu. With a tribal territory covering much of Te Waipounamu, the iwi is committed to working closely with local government as a Treaty partner to empower our communities and protect our natural resources. In her keynote address, Arihia will discuss the guiding principles of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and the ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced them. In particular, she will focus on the iwi’s renewed determination to achieve their aspirations around community resilience and regional rangatiratanga throughout the Ngāi Tahu takiwā.

2.15pm Keynote – Re-imagining Māori Futures

Eruera Tarena, Ngāi Tahu (Ngāi Tūāhuriri), Executive Director, Tokona te Raki: Māori Futures Collective

Eruera will look at the economic implications for Māori emerging from the COVID-19 recession and explore the challenges and opportunities for building back better...and equitably. He will examine where Māori are currently positioned and the changes on the horizon (COVID-19 and the future of work) before identifying what actions we can take today to emerge stronger and build Māori immunity to future economic shocks.

3pm Afternoon tea

3.30pm Keynote – Sam Judd, Te Mahere Whakauka - the Hope Project

Sam Judd, Co-founder of Te Mahere Whakauka - the Hope Project, will talk to us about the work he is doing to support to communities to create job opportunities, conserve community well-being and become self-sustaining for future generations. Sam will discuss Te Mahere Whakauka’s vision to create 1,570 sustainable jobs within 32 stand-alone whanau and hapū-based enterprises, the benefits of a Te Ao Māori enterprise framework, and how the local government sector can support this mahi.

4.15pm Keynote – Simpson Grierson Keynote – Removing the roadblocks for an infrastructure-led recovery

Jonathan Salter and Josh Cairns, Simpson Grierson

New Zealand’s Covid-19 recovery plan provides an opportunity to address decades of under-investment in infrastructure.

In this session, Simpson Grierson partners Josh Cairns and Jonathan Salter will review recent developments in planning, funding and delivery of infrastructure, and how they impact local authorities. They will discuss what action is needed beyond the Election to remove the roadblocks that may impede an infrastructure-led recovery.

5pm Close


Sam Judd
Co Founder at Sustainable Coastlines and Co Founder at Te Mahere Whakauka Read Profile
Jonathan Salter
Partner, Simpson Grierson Read Profile
Josh Cairns
Partner, Simpson Grierson Read Profile
Professor Cheryl de la Rey
Vice-Chancellor, University of Canterbury Read Profile
Dawn Baxendale
Chief Executive, Christchurch City Council Read Profile
David Meates
Chief Executive, Canterbury and West Coast District Health Boards Read Profile
Dr Ganesh Nana
Chair of the Productivity Commission Te Kōmihana Whai Hui o Aotearoa, Read Profile
Laura O'Connell Rapira
Director, ActionStation Read Profile
Arihia Bennett
Chief Executive Officer, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Read Profile
Dr Eruera Tarena
Executive Director, Tokona te Raki: Māori Futures Collective Read Profile
Jane Davidson
Pro Vice-Chancellor Emeritus, University of Wales Trinity Saint David Read Profile