Western Bay of Plenty District Council has won the coveted LGFA Supreme Award as part of the 2021 LGFA Taituarā Local Government Excellence Awards, presented at a Gala Dinner event in Wellington tonight.

The Award is for Transfer of Ownership of Panepane Purakau, an initiative to return 172 hectares of land to the five hāpu of Matakana Island through a significant negotiation and community engagement process.

The initiative was praised by the judges as an exemplary initiative of successful engagement with Māori with strong elements of co-design, investment in relationships, and a commitment of time and resource to succeed.

Western Bay of Plenty District Council also won the Minister of Local Government’s Award for Excellence in Council/Community Relations – a category that recognises projects that demonstrate outstanding results through excellent community engagement or empowerment.

Taituarā Chief Executive, Karen Thomas, congratulated Western Bay of Plenty District Council and said that this year’s Gala Dinner was extra special after last year’s event was cancelled due to COVID-19.

“The last year was challenging for the local government sector, and there are plenty of challenges ahead.

“It was wonderful to gather to acknowledge and celebrate the incredible mahi in the sector.

“Congratulations to Western Bay of Plenty District Council. Other local authorities can learn a lot from the Panepane Purakau project.

“Thank you to the Local Government Funding Authority. This is their first time as Supreme Award sponsor, but their seventh year of supporting our Excellence Awards.”

Seven category winners of the 2021 LGFA Taituarā Local Government Excellence Awards, plus a Supreme Award were announced, along with an award for an emerging leader, overseas manager exchanges, and a leadership scholarship. Also announced was the winning team of the New Zealand leg of the Australasian Management Challenge.

For further information, please see the 2021 Awards Media Pack or contact Ann Thomson on 027294385.