The EXCELLENCE Awards are open to all of New Zealand's 78 local authorities each year. The Awards recognise and celebrate excellent performance by councils with regard to community engagement, environmental impact, infrastructure management, economic development, cultural vibrancy, and overall value and service delivery.  Awards are judged on a combination of general and specific criteria.

Awards winners were announced in the evening of the Fulton Hogan conference dinner and LGNZ EXCELLENCE Awards function on Monday 16 July.

Click here to view the media release announcing the finalists.

Click below to view the media releases announcing the winners:


The 22 finalists in the LGNZ EXCELLENCE Awards 2018 are:


EXCELLENCE Award for Best Practice in Governance, Leadership and Strategy

This new title was awarded to the council that has made significant contributions towards innovative and successful local governance, leadership and strategy arrangements that have significantly affected a council’s culture, strategic direction or outcomes.

Palmerston North City Council – Framing the Big Picture

The other finalists were:

  • Central Hawke’s Bay District Council – Project Thrive Project Thrive resulted in effective and genuine engagement by the community to cement the governance of a new council and develop a strategic vision and direction for the community of Central Hawke’s Bay.
  • Rotorua Lakes Council – Planning for the Rotorua Way Rotorua Lakes is navigating a better future for its district through an integrated partnership and strategy-focused framework to deliver the district’s long-term vision.


    Waikato District Council – North Waikato integrated growth management A multi-party project to develop an integrated and sustainable land use and infrastructure plan to address growth challenges for the northern Waikato over the next 30 years.


LGNZ EXCELLENCE Award for Service Delivery and Asset Management

This title was awarded to the council that has managed its service delivery and core infrastructure in a manner that meets best practice and has resulted in better economic, social and/or environmental outcomes for their town, city, district or region.

Rotorua Lakes Council – Te Aka Mauri Library and Children’s Health Hub

The other finalists were:

  • Waipa District Council – RATA (Road Asset Technical Accord) A collaboration between nine councils in the Waikato region to improve strategic road asset management planning.
  • Wellington City Council (for Wellington Water) – Water in an Emergency When Mother Nature threw Wellington a curve ball on 14 November 2016, the city responded with a collaborative project involving five councils, a CCO, and central government, to build water resilience in an emergency.


Fulton Hogan EXCELLENCE Award for Community Engagement

This award went to a council where its project or programme has made a positive impact on their community and has encouraged effective engagement and participation.

Waipa District Council – Out of the Shadows

The other finalists were:

  • Far North District Council – Ngā Kurī Auau o Kaikohe A targeted, community-based social marketing project which aimed to assist hard-to-reach communities with dog compliance and to promote responsible dog ownership.
  • Gisborne District Council – What’s the future Tairawhiti? An early engagement campaign which sought to ignite community engagement to help develop the direction of the Council’s 2018-2028 Long Term Plan.
  • Kaikoura District Council – The Hospo Project: Feeding the Village People 

    The Hospo Project was created to reinvigorate Kaikoura’s economy after the 2016 earthquake and empowered 22 local businesses to work together to execute a multimillion dollar ‘catering service’ contract.

  • Manurewa and Papakura Local Boards (Auckland Council) – Engagement on the Manurewa Takanini Papakura Integrated Area Plan 

    The Integrated Area Plan is the result of a successful, collaborative and innovative public engagement process that captured feedback from youth and other residents who live the vision of the plan.

  • Palmerston North City Council – Palmerston North Junior Road Safety Park 

    Creating a place for Palmerston North’s children to learn road safety in a simulated traffic environment brought community, Council and local business together to create a fun and functional park.

  • Wairoa District Council – Wairoa Wastewater Stakeholder Group 

    The Council established the Wairoa Wastewater Stakeholder Group to support it as it undertook community consultation about the future management of wastewater in the Wairoa township.


LGNZ EXCELLENCE Award for Best Practice Contribution to Local Economic Development

This award went to a council who has led a strategy or programme delivering measurable actions and outcomes contributing to the economic advancement of their town, city, district or region.

Rotorua Lakes Council – The Revitalisation of the Rotorua Inner City

The other finalist was:

  • Waikato District Council – Te Awa River Ride – Ngaruawahia to Horotiu 

    The final 3km of shared walkway/cycleway, including a Waikato River crossing, the iconic Perry Bridge structure. Delivering the infrastructure to complete the link was the result of years of collaboration between multiple stakeholder groups, each represented by passionate individuals striving for better outcomes for their communities.


Air New Zealand EXCELLENCE Award for Environmental Impact

The recipient council has developed a significant strategy, project or programme that has made a positive and measurable contribution to the quality of the environment in their city, town, district or region.

Wellington City Council – Our Natural Capital

The finalists were:

  • Hawke’s Bay Regional Council – Heretaunga Plains Groundwater Model 

    The state-of-the-art Heretaunga Plains Groundwater Model has unified a community around the future of New Zealand’s second largest aquifer, achieving broad support for ceasing further groundwater allocation while driving innovative environmental solutions.
  • Northland Regional Council – Marine Biosecurity 

    The Council’s marine biosecurity programme has been leading the way in working to protect the region’s precious marine environment, now and for future generations, from harmful marine invaders


Creative New Zealand EXCELLENCE Award Best Creative Place

The recipient of this award has contributed to, or is contributing to, a more prosperous and vibrant town, city, district or region by incorporating arts and culture in local services, amenities and infrastructure.

Palmerston North City Council – Public Art Programme

The finalists were:

  • Horowhenua District Council – Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom is a shared place which is the result of a collaborative process; creating a space for tangata whenua, Dutch settlers and the local community.
  • Kāpiti Coast District Council – Kāpiti Arts Trail A flagship arts event, which the Kāpiti Coast District Council has led for the past 17 years. This year’s event gives over 100 local artists the opportunity to welcome the public into their studios and observe the work they do and the passion they have for art. Its focus is on inclusivity, participation and celebrating cultural vibrancy through the district.