Taituarā — Local Government Professionals Aotearoa in partnership with Tūhura Partners, has launched a new service to provide executive support to local government leaders. Hei Taituarā is a niche service focused on mentoring, rapid response, interim executive placement and supporting leaders to prepare for upcoming reform programmes.

Taituarā President and Chief Executive at Central Otago District Council, Sanchia Jacobs, said that the sector is operating with a great deal of uncertainty, and opportunity. A priority for Hei Taituarā is to bring strength and understanding to the issues.

“We don’t yet know what the full impact of the reform programmes will be, and there is added uncertainty with the Future for Local Government Review.

“What we do know is that local government is front and centre of change, and leaders need to be prepared for what’s to come.

“Hei Taituarā is here to build capability and help with trouble-shooting. It’s really important for the sector right now.”

Hei Taituarā will draw on a pool of talent to provide help and support to sector leaders during challenging times, to provide some clarity and to see problems through.

“Our practitioners bring a wealth of local government knowledge and expertise, said Tūhura Director, Dean Kimpton.

“They are passionate about supporting leaders to build trust and confidence and lead their communities.”

The Hei Taituarā team has already supported a number of projects in the sector including helping Ōtorohanga District Council, Aotearoa’s ninth smallest territorial authority with 54 staff serving a population of 10,000, to respond to the Three Waters RFI request and contribute to the Waikato/Bay of Plenty consortium while putting together an ambitious long-term plan.

Ōtorohanga Chief Executive, Tanya Winter, said that she has an exceptional team, but they can’t do everything, and she isn’t afraid to reach out for support.

“Hei Taituarā worked alongside my team, helping to interpret many and varied requests, pulling thoughts together and providing technical expertise. They recognise the individual differences between councils and were able to draw on skills from other councils in the region.

“They bring immense experience, but also hard-earned reputations, strategic thinking and a passion for the sector.”

Blair Bowcott, General Manager of Growth at Hamilton City Council, agrees that sector experience is essential and has worked with Hei Taituarā on a couple of assignments, including a transformative approach to delivering shared services, and a three waters assignment.

“We are all really busy and dealing with complex information at pace. We need to be able to access trusted advisors with a deep understanding of our business.

“The Hei Taituarā team understand the pressures and political environment we operate in. They speak our language, and really helped us to think about things differently.”

Hei translates to ‘with’ or ‘for the purpose of’ and denotes ‘standing next to’ in a kinship/relationship form. It sits well with the meaning of Taituarā, which is means ‘support’ or backbone/spine. In te reo Māori tūhura means to discover, explore, bring to light’. With the support or backbone of Taituarā combined with the discovery of Tūhura, we bring a strength and understanding to the issues facing the sector.

For more information about Hei Taituarā visit this page on our website or email karen.thomas@taituara.org.nz or call her on 022 609 1544.