Central Hawke’s Bay Council’s Director, Darren de Klerk, is the recipient of the hotly contested Taituarā — Local Government Professionals Aotearoa 2021 Emerging Leader of the Year Award.


The Award provides Darren, the Council’s Director of Projects and Programmes, with a fully paid trip to attend the International City Managers’ Association (ICMA) Annual Conference in Oregon in the United States. The ICMA is the leading association for local government professionals in the world with more than 11,000 members.

The judges were impressed by the scale and significance of the projects that Darren has been involved in, including an $80 million investment in Three Waters projects - #bigwaterstory Capital Works Programme. They also commended Darren’s commitment to community engagement, including strengthening relationships with local iwi and nearby councils. Darren’s willingness to share his experience and bring the insights gained to others led to a more collaborate approach throughout the Hawke’s Bay community.

Taituarā Chief Executive, Karen Thomas, congratulated Darren and said that this year’s Gala Dinner event 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 people in the sector.

“I am confident that Darren will continue to contribute as a leader in local government in many forms and for many years to come.”

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