Published: 25 July 2017
A Hutt City Council project to transform recreational and educational opportunities for young people, has won the Fulton Hogan EXCELLENCE Award for Community Engagement.
The Transformation Taita project involved many in the community in a project aimed at creating a brighter future for the Lower Hutt suburb’s tamariki.
The project was announced as the award winner at a gala dinner in Auckland attended by more than 650 delegates from local and central government, and stakeholders, last night. Now in their fourth year, the EXCELLENCE Awards recognise and celebrate the key leadership role that local government plays in communities around the country.
Based around the Walter Nash Centre, which opened in 2015, Transformation Taita is focused on empowering tamariki for a brighter future, while building a stronger community. The project is making the full range of council and other much needed services available to children that need it the most.
Partnering with five local schools, the council provided a “magic card” for every student, providing free access to council swimming pools, and free internet, book borrowing and printing at libraries, and free transport for educational trips in the greater Wellington region.
A Computer Clubhouse, based on a successful model in Naenae, gives students the opportunity to build confidence in the use of technology and now has 250 members.
The impact on the community has been considerable, with more than a million visits to the Walter Nash Centre, a 58 per cent increase in library books borrowed, and a 90 per cent decrease in graffiti in Taita since the Centre opened.
Corporate partners have donated computers and KPMG staff have volunteered in schools and hosted children at visits to their Wellington offices.
LGNZ President Lawrence Yule says Transformation Taita is an excellent project, well led by Hutt City Council.
“Achieving these kinds of results requires a collaborative effort and the council has shown great leadership to get this up and running and working so well,” Mr Yule says.
Judges said the project focused on giving young people in an area of high deprivation the right start. It involved many different parties from within the community who all have an interest in these young people and want to look after them.
“This project will give those kids a perspective they wouldn’t gain otherwise. It has great partnerships with a whole range of players involved.”
Judges for the awards are former Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast, Chair of EQC Sir Maarten Wevers and The New Zealand Initiative’s Executive Director, Dr Oliver Hartwich.