Published: 16 May 2017
The small mid Canterbury town of Methven was on show last week as more than 200 Community Board, local and national government representatives from throughout New Zealand gathered for the New Zealand Community Boards Conference.
The biennial conference scheduled from 11 – 13 May attracted a record number of participants eager to share ideas and to establish and renew networks and friendships. The conference theme “Making 1 + 1 = 3” focused on finding new and creative ways to deliver improved outcomes to ratepayers and parent councils, given the constant demand on limited resources.
A range of stimulating speakers from New Zealand and Australia discussed topics ranging from positive communications and ways to engage youth in local government to sustainable housing and the role of the local government commission.
According to Mick Lester, Chair of the New Zealand Community Board Executive committee, the outstanding success of the conference was due to the combination of engaging speakers, strong participation from community board members and the support of the local community.
“The locals pulled out all stops to ensure delegates were treated to a very special experience,” Mick says. “In addition to the information and knowledge shared amongst our delegates, the local community and business sector shared in the benefits of the three day gathering.”
Delegates and their partners contributed 336 room nights across seven local hotels and resorts, airport transfers were provided by Methven Travel and local caterers and community groups were engaged to provide food and entertainment.
The welcome function on Thursday evening was catered by Black Kite and staffed by members and supporters of United Club. Conference catering by was provided by Rangiora-based Continental and served by friends, family and gymnasts from Dynamic Gymnastics. On Friday evening guests gathered for the conference dinner and best practice awards at Methven Heritage Centre, Mt Hutt Memorial Hall. Illuminati provided excellent audio visual support and entertainment was popular local band ‘Freudian Slip’.
The post conference spit roast held at Blue Pub on Saturday evening was attended by 110. A Fonterra Plant tour on Thursday afternoon was a highlight of the programme. Leading conference organising company Conference Innovators worked closely with Mick and the committee to ensure seamless delivery of the conference programme.
This is the first time the conference, jointly hosted by The Methven Community Board and the Ashburton District Council, has been held in Methven.
“We were delighted to hold the conference in Methven to showcase the mid Canterbury area to over 200 delegates from Kaitaia to Bluff. The combination of the support from the Ashburton District Council and the Methven Community Board, and an outstanding venue for all the conference activities, made this one of the most successful and best supported conferences we have held. Methven and its people are a great example of all that is great about small town New Zealand.”
“Methven was a superb conference destination. The entire township opened their arms to our delegates and venue staff and local suppliers ensured they were exceptionally well looked after. We would thoroughly recommend Methven as a venue for events like this.” Mick says.