Waipa District Council’s innovative project to increase its community’s knowledge of its history is among winners of the Local Government New Zealand EXCELLENCE Awards 2018.
The Council won the Fulton Hogan EXCELLENCE Award for Community Engagement for its project Out of the Shadows – Bringing Waipa’s Heritage to Life
Now in their fifth year, the Awards recognise and celebrate the key leadership role that local government plays in communities around the country. This year saw the highest number of entries in the Awards’ history. Winners were announced at the LGNZ conference dinner in Christchurch on 16 July.
The Out of the Shadows project aimed to increase the district’s knowledge of its rich history and the powerful and nationally significant story it has to tell.
It worked to inspire discussion and create an environment where all people felt comfortable talking about their heritage and what it meant for them. The approach was in preparation for a proposed significant increase in heritage investment, including plans for a Waipa Discovery Centre in Te Awamutu.
Goals ultimately include raising national awareness of Waipa’s heritage, and, in particular, its role in the New Zealand Land Wars.
Outcomes included council staff having face-to-face conversations on the issue with 1,800 people; videos developed around the heritage project were viewed nearly 62,000 times; social media posts reached nearly 60,000 people over six weeks; and 814 submissions were received.
Judges praised the project as “a novel approach that used an effective and well-designed campaign to address a complex issue of conflicting narratives about historical events. The project demonstrated broad community engagement that linked its history and fed through into its future planning.”
Waikato District Council was also highly commended in the LGNZ EXCELLENCE Award for Best Practice Contribution to Local Economic Development category for the Te Awa River Ride – Ngaruawahia to Horotiu; and the Waikato Mayoral Forum was highly commended in the LGNZ EXCELLENCE Award for Service Delivery and Asset Management category for the RATA (Road Asset Technical Accord) programme.
LGNZ President Dave Cull said “These, and all the EXCELLENCE winning projects, demonstrate a significant achievement and reflect strong leadership and the innovative work being delivered by councils across the country.
The winners and finalists incorporate best practice criteria from 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.
“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.”