Tauranga City Council has won Te Tohu Waka Hourua – The Buddle Findlay Award for Māori-Council Partnerships at the 2023 LGFA Taituarā Local Government Excellence Awards.
The Council’s ‘Joint Land Ownership – the Right Thing to Do’ project received the honour at the awards ceremony in Wellington. The partnership focused on the joint ownership solution with Otamataha Trust for the land beneath Tauranga’s civic precinct, where Te Manawataki o Te Papa will be built.
Commission Chair, Anne Tolley said she was delighted to hear that the Council’s unique approach to resolving a longstanding land grievance had been recognised with such a prestigious award.
“We are very proud of the relationship we have developed with Otamataha Trust during the joint land ownership process, and it is wonderful to have that partnership recognised through these awards,” said Ms Tolley.
“We are not aware of any other land ownership structure like this currently in place across Aotearoa and it is a great example of how councils can work in genuine partnership with mana whenua to help achieve collective goals, for the good of everyone.”
Otamataha Chair, Puhirake Ihaka said: “it was a privilege to be present at the awards on behalf of the many leaders that had maintained the presence of tangata whenua through grace and patience. There is much work ahead of us to give this relationship the attention it deserves to grow and flourish for all of Tauranga”
Referring to the joint ownership structure for the civic precinct site, the judges said: “Working together has resulted both in the resolution of a long-standing dispute outside of Te Tiriti processes and empowerment of a large transformative project with multiple wellbeing outcomes. A clear commitment to partnership was evident. This was indeed, the right thing to do.”
Council staff member, Anne Blakeway, Manager: City Partnerships, was one of four winners selected for the 2023 Overseas Managers Exchange programme. The programme provides local government managers with an opportunity to focus on their management development and career through a short exchange with a partner manager in another country.
Tauranga City council was also named as the winner of the New Zealand leg of the Taituarā Australasian Management Challenge. The annual competition, run by Taituarā, involves teams from local government organisations throughout the country. Entrants undertake a series of tasks throughout a ‘Challenge Day’ which are designed to simulate real council and community issues in a fast-paced environment, requiring a variety of leadership skills to be demonstrated.
Council’s team, the Tauranga Moana Taskmasters, was made up of representatives from a variety of different business units. The team competed at the challenge in May after months of intense preparation work and pre-challenge tasks. You can read more about it, including the judges’ comments, here. The team will now represent New Zealand at the Australian finals, competing against seven states and territories.
Commissioner Tolley says the Council was extremely proud.
“Tauranga is going through a remarkable transformation period as we build our city towards the future,” she said.
“Having the right people on board to do this mahi is crucial, and it’s great to have those people recognised for the wonderful things they are doing for our community.”