Our Gala Dinner celebrates Local Government professionals and their outstanding contributions to the sector.

The dinner is held every April and the winners of the SOLGM Local Government Excellence Awards, the Emerging Leader of the Year Award and the Australasian Management Challenge are announced. Also announced are the recipients of our Leadership Scholarships and Overseas Manager Exchanges.

For information on and tickets to our 2017 Gala Dinner, being held on 12 April at the Langham in Auckland, please click here.

About the 2016 Gala Dinner

On the 14th of April 2016 SOLGM celebrated the outstanding contributions of local government professionals to the success of the sector at our Gala Dinner held in Wellington and hosted by broadcaster Mark Sainsbury.

SOLGM would like to congratulate the following winners and recipients:

43 entries were received for the excellence awards this year; 31 project category entries (from which the Supreme Winner is selected) and 12 entries for the inaugural Brookfields Emerging Leader of the Year Award.

Supreme Award Winner: Hamilton City Council for “Transforming a City Dump: Hamilton Gardens”

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.

The winner was: Nicola Chrisp, Manager, Communications, Waikato Regional Council

This award was offered for the first time in 2016. Nicola 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.

You can find more on the 2016 McGredy Winder SOLGM Local Government Excellence Awards®, including all the project category winners, the judge’s citations and the videos submitted with the project category entries here.

Check out our Facebook page for more photos from the Gala Dinner.


Pictured above: Supreme Award Winners, Hamilton City Council

Pictured above: (Left to right) , Andrew Green, Brookfields Lawyers and Emerging Leader of the Year Nicola Chrisp, Waikato Regional Council

The Australasian Management Challenge

The winning team of the 2016 New Zealand leg of the Management Challenge was Dunedin City Council

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.

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.

Find out more about the Management Challenge here.

PICTURED ABOVE: Sandy Graham, Group Manager Corporate Services and Sue Bidrose, Chief Executive at Dunedin City Council with their trophy.

The 2016 SOLGM Overseas Manager Exchanges

The recipients of the four exchanges on offer this year were:

The United States Exchange recipient was Hamish Waugh, General Manager-Infrastructure, Manawatu District Council

The New South Wales, Australia Exchange recipient was Katherine Trought, Director Communications and External Relations, Environment Canterbury

The Australia, Queensland Exchange recipient was Adrian de Laborde, Engineering Services Group Manager, Hauraki District Council

The British Columbia, Canada Exchange recipient was Fiona McTavish, General Manager- Strategy and Science, Bay of Plenty Regional Council

Find our more on our Overseas Manager Exchanges here.


The 2016 SOLGM Leadership Scholarships

The recipients of the four scholarships of offer were:

The Mt Eliza Melbourne Business School Leadership Development Programme Scholarship (sponsored by The Skills Organisation) recipient was Leanne Mash, Chief Executive, Central Otago District Council

The Leadership Development Centre Leadership in Practice Programme: Scholarship recipient was Amanda Cox, Manager, Parks, Greater Wellington Regional Council

The Opus ‘Leading Self’ Programme Scholarship recipients were Jason Marris, Governance Manager, Whangarei District Council and Mara Bebich, Departmental Strategy and Stakeholder Manager, Infrastructure & Environmental Services, Auckland Council

Find our more on our Leadership Scholarships here.


SOLGM would like to thank all the sponsors for their support of these initiatives.

Check out our Facebook page for more photos from the Gala Dinner.