2016 SOLGM Gala Dinner Recognises Professional Excellence
The 2016 SOLGM Gala Dinner, hosted by broadcaster Mark Sainsbury last night in Wellington, recognised the very best of
professional management across the New Zealand local government sector.
Working closely with the community to transform what was once the city dump into an internationally recognised world
class public garden earned Hamilton City Council the 2016 McGredy Winder SOLGM Local Government Excellence Awards®
Also announced on the night was Nicola Chrisp of Waikato Regional Council as the Brookfields Emerging Leader of the
Year; Dunedin City Council as the winning team from the New Zealand leg of the Australasian Management Challenge, and
the recipients of SOLGM’s Overseas Manager Exchanges and Leadership Scholarships.
“The Gala Dinner is a very special event for professionals in the sector” says SOLGM Chief Executive Karen Thomas.
“All across the country we have managers and staff who are working on innovative and collaborative projects and
developing their leadership skills. We want to ensure these efforts, and the impact they have on the communities we all
serve, are recognised.”
The 2016 McGredy Winder SOLGM Local Government Excellence Awards®
43 entries were received for the excellence awards this year; 31 entries were received for the project categories and 12
entries for the inaugural Brookfields Emerging Leader of the Year Award.
The winner of the Supreme Award, selected from the five project categories, was Transforming a City Dump: Hamilton Gardens submitted by Hamilton City Council. The project was a successful transformation of a piece of marginal land into an
internationally renowned garden complex. The entry focused on the processes through which the council secured community
buy-in, worked with 18 independent trusts and countless volunteers to deliver a transformative project.
Peter Winder, one of the Award judges said “Hamilton Gardens are a national treasure. The transformation of a city dump
into an internationally renowned tourist facility would not have been possible without community support, a successful
fund-raising programme and passionate staff. The project’s governance framework is an exemplar for all projects where
councils and communities work together and for the use of trusts in general.”
Brookfields Emerging Leader of the Year Award
This award was offered for the first time in 2016. Nicola Chrisp, Manager, Communications, Waikato Regional Council was
selected as winner from the 12 entries received with the judges noting that Nicola demonstrated all the attributes of an
‘up and coming leader’. She has a proven track record of sustained and innovative projects many of which had been taken
up outside her council.
The quality and diversity of entries was very high and the judges awarded three highly commended citations to Rochelle
Faimalo, Youth Development Officer at Hurunui District Council, Doug Tate, Community Facilities Manager at Manawatu
District Council and Julia de Ruiter, Social Media and Digital Support Librarian at Waitaki District Council.
The New Zealand leg of the Australasian Management Challenge
Dunedin City Council provided the winning team in this year’s New Zealand leg of the Management Challenge. A record
number of council teams entered this year’s Challenge reflecting its increased recognition as a leadership development
opportunity that also provides for strong cross council collaboration.
A 2016 participant, Margaret Maclaurin from Hauraki District Council said “The Challenge not only took our team out of our comfort zone, but created a wonderfully competitive and fun network of
contacts throughout Local Government in our region. There was a real sense of wanting to be your best, perform your best
for your team and be better in Local Government.“
The Dunedin City Council team will go on to the Australasian Finals where they will compete against the state finalists.
Wellington City Council placed second and Christchurch City Council was third.
The other announcements made at SOLGM’s Gala Dinner were the five project category winners of the 2016 McGredy Winder
SOLGM Local Government Excellence Awards®:
Innovation in Organisation and People Development Category
Auckland Council for their project: Regulation 18, National Qualification for Building Control Officers
LGFA Transforming Service Delivery Category
Stratford District Council for their project: CxT (Customer Experience Transformation). The judges noted that Stratford
is the smallest council to ever win a category award.
Innovation in Council-Community Relations Category
Hamilton City Council for their Hamilton Gardens project. The judges also highly commended Waitaki District Council for
their project, The Rebuilding of Haven Street, and Rotorua Lakes Council for their project, Te Arawa Partnership
Collaborative Government Action Category
Wellington City Council on behalf of the Memorial Alliance for their project: Victoria Street Transformation
Innovation in Policy and Regulatory Development Category
Grey District Council for their project: Project Freedom Camping
Also announced were the following Overseas Manager Exchange and Leadership Scholarship recipients:
2016 SOLGM Overseas Manager Exchanges:
United States Exchange; Hamish Waugh, General Manager-Infrastructure, Manawatu District Council
Australia, New South Wales Exchange: Katherine Trought, Director Communications and External Relations, Environment Canterbury
Australia, Queensland Exchange: Adrian de Laborde, Engineering Services Group Manager, Hauraki District Council
British Columbia, Canada Exchange: Fiona McTavish, General Manager- Strategy and Science, Bay of Plenty Regional Council
These exchanges, which provide managers with the opportunity to focus on development of their managerial career though a
short exchange with a partner manager in another country, is made possible through the support of JLT and Civic
2016 SOLGM Leadership Scholarships
Mt Eliza Melbourne Business School Leadership Development Programme (Sponsored by The Skills Organisation): Leanne Mash, Chief Executive, Central Otago District Council
Leadership Development Centre Leadership in Practice Programme: Amanda Cox, Manager, Parks, Greater Wellington Regional Council
Opus ‘Leading Self’ Programme: Jason Marris, Governance Manager, Whangarei District Council and Mara Bebich, Departmental Strategy and Stakeholder
Manager, Infrastructure & Environmental Services, Auckland Council
These leadership scholarships are part of SOLGM’s LGLeadershipPathways initiative that provides opportunities for local
government managers to develop their leadership skills.