Karel Boakes is a Regulatory Manager at Manawatū District Council. As part of the Overseas Manager Exchange that she won in 2020, Karel has attended the annual conference of one of our sister organisations. In this article Karel reports back from the 2023 Local Government Professionals Australia New South Wales conference. 

"It was a privilege to attend the Local Government Professionals conference in Sydney this month as part of the Taituarā Overseas Manager Exchange programme."

"The event was held at Jones Bay Wharf, Pyrmont in Sydney. Pyrmont is a beautiful location on the wharf and the conference venue itself was an excellent example of how an old wharf building could be repurposed into a functional, interesting space."

"The theme of the conference was ‘expanding the possibilities’ and coincided with National Reconciliation Week in Australia and the attendees were welcomed to the country by a ceremony by the Gadigal aboriginal inhabitants."

"The agenda was packed with interesting and engaging speakers covering topics including healthy and sustainable cities, human-centric performance, creating future-ready organisations, and a highlight for me was a presentation from Nicholas Marchesi and Lucas Patchett from Orange Sky Laundry during a working lunch on day two."

"This was an inspirational story about how two young entrepreneurs founded Orange Sky – a world-first, free mobile laundry service for people experiencing homelessness. On a mission to improve hygiene standards, Nic and Lucas stumbled on something much bigger and more significant – the power of a conversation. Starting off with only one van and two washing machines, to now having a network across Australia and New Zealand! What an amazing example of expanding possibilities."

"I also got to meet Bronda Smith, another New Zealand delegate who was just finishing her exchange as I was just starting."

"Thank you to Taituarā for this great opportunity, as well as to Local Government Professionals Australia for organising an interesting and insightful conference."

Karel Boakes

Regulatory Manager
Manawatū District Council