This annual two day forum aims to bring those who work in the challenging field of local government communications and engagement together to share knowledge, recognise innovation and develop professional knowledge and skills.

  • 12 Nov 2018-13 Nov 2018
  • 9:00 AM-5:00 PM
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  • Harbourside Function Venue (formerly Macs Function Centre), Wellington, New Zealand
  • 890.00 (plus GST) Members
  • 1,010.00 (plus GST) Non Members
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About this event

Change is a constant, especially in a sector like ours with its broad and diverse range of activities, and the range and depth of our connections with our communities.

This year’s programme is a mix of sessions that focus on change in and implications of change for, the communications and engagement functions.

The change theme begins with a presentation on the outcomes of SOLGM’s Future Engagement project. This will provide insight (and possibly some challenging ideas) into changes local government may need to make if it is to engage more successfully in the future. That’ll be followed by a panel and table session on creating an innovative communications and engagement environment.

We often hear that the legislation frustrates good engagement, so here’s an opportunity to tell us what you’d do if you ruled the world (or at least if you were the Minister of Local Government).

There’s a strong engagement thread running through the Forum, with four great stories from across the engagement spectrum including cases from Ashburton, Far North, Palmerston North and Waitaki. Invercargill’s Keeping up with the Librarians took on the world’s best at the International Federation of Library Associations International Marketing Awards. Plus we’ll hear from the winners of this year’s Great CD Competition.

There’ll be an update from LGNZ and SOLGM on the communications campaign for the 2019 elections too.

This exciting mix of challenging presentations, provoking panels, good ideas, and chances to have your say is fast becoming the leading event for local government communications and engagement professionals.

Who should attend:

  • All local government communications and public affairs managers, advisors and officers
  • All local government managers and staff with responsibilities for conducting or supporting community engagement


Day One

9.30am Welcome

Raymond Horan, Manager Sector Improvement, SOLGM

9.35am Future Engagement – how will the sector need to adapt

Elizabeth Hughes, Principal, Elizabeth Hughes Strategy & Consultation

SOLGM has completed its consideration of the trends and forces shaping our communities and their implications for the way the sector engages with communities. We invited Elizabeth Hughes to consider where the sector stands and how it might need to change to adapt to these challenges.

To be followed by a table top discussion of the following questions

Are there any trends or issues that could shape how we engage in future that haven’t been picked up in the analysis?

Where do you think your organisation is best placed to adapt its engagement to meet these challenges? Where is it not so well placed?”

10.55am Morning Tea

11.15am Encouraging Innovative Communications and Engagement

Penny Bloomberg

Natalie Palmer, Communications Manager, Hamilton City Council

Innovation in the communications and engagement field is crucial, yet its easy to fall into the comfort of the ‘same old, same old’.This interactive session will discuss the barriers to innovation in the comms and engagement functions and how these can be overcome.

12.20pm What’s Coming up from SOLGM?

Raymond Horan, Manager Sector Improvement, SOLGM

An update on all of SOLGM’s good works including our upcoming programme of good practice resources, thought leadership, learning and development events.

12.50pm Lunch

1.30pm Show and tell time

At your tables

To get you moving around in the post-lunch period please come prepared with a 3-4 minute anecdote of something you’re proud of, want to share or want to ask advice on. You’ll get time to share with your table buddies and with others.

Note: The Chair will pick a few people at random to share their stories with the audience as a whole.

2.20pm WTF – What’s the Future Tairāwhiti

Anita Reedy-Holthausen, Customer Engagement Manager, Gisborne District Council

A case study of the early engagement, consultation document development and the LTP engagement provided by the winner of the 2018 SOLGM Great CD Competition

3.00pm Channel Choices for A Small Communications Team

Glyn Walters, Communications Manager, Marlborough District Council

Glyn will discuss the public survey of communications channels that Marlborough District undertook in 2017, and the changes the council has since made to its communication channels. Amongst other things this included a new approach to radio advertising, changing its approach to newspaper advertorial, adopting Neighbourly and Antenno, using email and direct mail more, and working with The Marlborough App and Brian FM radio station.

3.30pm Afternoon Tea

4.00pm Rewriting the Tablets: A Group Exercise

At your tables

The Minister of Local Government has formed an expert panel to provide advice on how best to reshape/review the consultation and engagement parts of the Local Government Act to better engage citizens.

As her expert advisors what would you recommend (and while you can recommend throwing the whole lot out, you’ll need to justify your answers)?

5.10pm End of Day One

5.15pm Networking Drinks

Day Two

9.00am Welcome to Day Two

9.05am The 2018 Community Engagement Panel

9.05am Our Place

Toni Durham and Rachel Thomas, Ashburton District Council

Our Place is the name that Ashburton District Council has given to its programme of pre-engagement to generate consensus on the direction for the LTP.The distinguishing feature of the approach is the use of a Delphi method where the Council takes an approach that is a great deal more open than most engagement, relying on the community to generate and rank ideas.

Our Place won a highly commended citation in The Giblin Group Award for Innovation in Council Community Relations at this year’s SOLGM Excellence Awards

9.35am Framing the Big Picture

Sheryl Bryant – General Manager Strategy and Planning and Andrew Boyle, Head of Community Planning, Palmerston North City Council

Framing the Big Picture outlined the Councillor-led development of a comprehensive strategic framework to inform the development of the council’s 10-year plan.Sheryl and Andrew will talk about the engagement with the council and the community.

Framing the Big Picture was a 2018 joint winner of LGNZ’s Performance Excellence and Community Outcomes Award, and a 2018 winner of the Best Practice in Governance, Leadership and Strategy

10.05am Far North District Council – Nga Kūri Auau O Kaikōhe

Matthew McCambridge and Ana Mules, Far North District Council

Ngā Kuri is a targeted community based social marketing project designed to promote responsible dog ownership in two communities with substantial dog control issues.It’s a great example of an excellent outcome without spending big .

Nga Kūri Auau O Kaikōhe received a Highly Commended Citation in the Better Policy and Regulation Category of this year’s 2018 McGredy Winder SOLGM Excellence Awards and a Highly Commended Citation in this years LGNZ Excellence Awards.

10.35am Engaging with Pasifika by Engaging their Children

Fiona Kerr - Youth Librarian, Waitaki District Council

This presentation highlights the connections made between the library and the various Pacific communities based in the Waitaki District which have primarily come about as the result of engaging with children from these communities. These interactions now extend beyond the library walls with staff having conversations with members of Waitaki’s Pasifika community when out and about in town.

11.05am Summing Up

11.10am Morning Tea

11.40am Vote 2019 Update

Amanda Boyd, Senior Communications Advisor, LGNZ

12.10pm Keeping up with the Librarians: A Social Media Based Campaign

Connor Chamberlain, Invercargill City Council

In October 2017, the Invercargill Public Library posted an image of Librarians recreating a famous Kardashian photo shoot. The photo soon went viral on Facebook, and has now been seen by over 1 million people. This was part of a social media strategyhighlighting that the Invercargill Library is a fun place to visit.

Keeping up With the Librarians won second place at the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions BibLibre International Marketing Awards.

12.40pm Summing Up and Announcement of the Venue for the 2019 Comms and Engagement Event

12.50pm Close


Raymond Horan
Chief Advisor, SOLGM Read Profile
Elizabeth Hughes
Read Profile
Richard Mabon
Senior Policy Advisor Read Profile
Natalie Palmer
Communications and Engagement Manager Read Profile
Toni Durham
Strategy & Policy Manager Read Profile
Rachel Thomas
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Sheryl Bryant
General Manager, City Future Read Profile
Connor Chamberlain
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Andrew Boyle
Head of Community Planning, Palmerston North City Council Read Profile
Ana Mules
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Matt McCambridge
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Glyn Walters
Communications Manager Read Profile
Fiona Kerr
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Amanda Boyd
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