A highly successful strategy to make Rotorua a globally recognised mountain bike destination is a finalist in the Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) EXCELLENCE Awards.
Now in their fourth year, the Awards recognise and celebrate the key leadership role that local government plays in communities around the country.
Rotorua Lakes Council’s strategic intervention approach to maximise recognition of the region as a global mountain biking mecca is a finalist for the Crown Fibre Holdings EXCELLENCE Award for Best Practice Contribution to Local Economic Development.
The mountain bike strategy has been a 20-year-journey for Rotorua, taking in the 2006 world championships, the world single-speed championships (2010 and November 2017), and the Crankworx World Series event.
It has involved extensive consultation and collaboration with iwi, the community and local businesses with the council now holding a 49 percent share in promotional company Mountain Bike Events Ltd which has been awarded Crankworx until 2027. The 2016 Crankworx event alone brought in $8 million to the community.
Outside of events, the number of people riding the Whakarewarewa trails increased from approximately 55,000 to 250,000 between 2005 to 2016, with the Te Ari Ahi Thermal by Bike trail opened in 2013.
Judges said Rotorua is internationally recognised as a mountain biking destination and the spin-off from that is real and visible.
“Rotorua has a clear strategy and what they are doing is specialising in a niche they are growing and that will continue to have benefits. Mountain biking has become to Rotorua what film is to Wellington.”
LGNZ President Lawrence Yule said the finalists in the EXCELLENCE Awards showcased outstanding leadership being provided by local government throughout the country.
“Local government is at the centre of every community in New Zealand, helping shape the environment in which we work and play,” Mr Yule says.
“Being named as a finalist is a great achievement and reflects the vision shown by councils and the innovative work being done by staff. The finalists include some truly exceptional projects that are having a profound impact on communities.”
Local authorities were invited to submit award applications in five categories:
- Fulton Hogan EXCELLENCE Award for Community Engagement
- Creative New Zealand EXCELLENCE Award for Best Creative Place
- Air New Zealand EXCELLENCE Award for Environmental Impact
- Chorus EXCELLENCE Award for Best Practice in Infrastructure
- Crown Fibre Holdings EXCELLENCE Award for Best Practice Contribution to Local Economic Development
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.