Foxton’s world-class Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom project has won Horowhenua District Council a finalist place in the Local Government New Zealand EXCELLENCE Awards 2018 in the Creative New Zealand EXCELLENCE Award for Best Creative Place.
Now in their fifth year, the Awards recognise and celebrate the key leadership role that local government plays in communities around the country.
Opened in November 2017, it is the result of a collaborative process between the Council, Dutch Connection Trust and Te Taitoa Māori o Te Awahou Trust, and tells the story of Māori and other settlers in Horowhenua and the Dutch Community in New Zealand.
Based on an innovative model, it is being well-used by the community. The shared space combines a library, museum, council service centre, visitor information, community exhibition space, and meeting rooms for the preservation and development of the cultural, social and economic heritage of these communities.
Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom has increased visitor numbers to Foxton and become a catalyst for revitalisation for the town. Library issues have increased by 78 per cent and community attendance to public programmes has increased.
Judges said the project “Demonstrated an innovative, cross-cultural initiative combining a number of facilities and resources for the preservation and development of the cultural, social, and economic heritage and well-being of the district’s communities that has garnered good local support including from local hapū and iwi, and international recognition.”
LGNZ President Dave Cull says that being named as a finalist is a significant achievement and reflects strong leadership and the innovative work being delivered by councils across the country.
“The finalists include some exceptional projects that are having a profound impact on communities. The EXCELLENCE Awards finalists all demonstrate innovation, excellence in communication and consultation to involve communities in the decisions and planning which frame their future.”
The finalists incorporate best practice criteria under LGNZ’s CouncilMARK™ excellence programme which is designed to improve the public’s knowledge of the work councils are doing in their communities and to support individual councils to further improve the service and value they provide. Horowhenua District Council is a Foundation Member of this programme.
“Overall the judges felt that the strongest entries demonstrated a strong strategic focus, clear outcomes, measured results, cost benefit analysis and engagement with external organisations – particularly a collaborative approach with stakeholders, and meaningful engagement with iwi and Māori.“
This year saw the highest number of entries in the Awards’ history. Winners will be announced at the LGNZ conference dinner in Christchurch on 16 July.