Our Gala Dinner recognises the very best of professional management across the New Zealand local government sector. We are delighted to congratulate the following councils and individuals whose contributions were recognised at the 2017 SOLGM Gala Dinner held in Auckland last week.

There were six project category winners of the 2017 McGredy Winder SOLGM Local Government Excellence Awards®.

- In the Innovation in Organisation and People Development Category – Waikato Regional Council for their project: Basic Investigative Skills for Local Government Training Programme.

- In the LGFA Transforming Service Delivery Category – Christchurch City Council for their project: Partnership Approvals.

- In the BERL Collaborative Government Action Category – Kapiti Coast District Council: Getting Mackays to Peka Peka Expressway on the Road.

- In the Innovation in Policy and Regulatory Development Category – New Plymouth District Council for their project: Waahi Tapu and Archaeological Sites Review.

- This year's new category, the Minister of Local Government Innovation in Asset Management Award – Whanganui District Council for their project: Risk Based Asset Management.

- The winner of the Innovation in Council Community Relations Category and the Supreme Winner – Waimakariri District Council for their project: Draft Waimakariri Residential Red Zone Recovery Plan.

Tauranga City Council provided the winning team for this year's New Zealand leg of the Australasian Management Challenge. They will go on to the Australasian Finals where they will compete against Australian state finalists. A record number of council teams entered this year’s Challenge reflecting its increased recognition as a leadership development opportunity.

The Brookfields Emerging Leader of the Year Award went to Catherine (Cashy) Ball, Team Leader, Strategic Policy at Whakatane District Council.

The Overseas Manager Exchange is made possible through the support of JLT and Civic Financial Services. The 2017 recipients are:

- United States Exchange: Steve Hill, Clutha District Council and Ken Morris, Waipa District Council.

- Canada Exchange: Liam Nolan, Head of Vertical Capital Delivery and Professional Services at Christchurch City Council.

- Australia, New South Wales Exchange: Shanine Hermsen, Manager, Community Partnerships at Nelson City Council.

- Australia, Queensland Exchange: Simon Young, Unit Manager, City Delivery Unit at Hamilton City Council.

This year's SOLGM Leadership Scholarship recipients are:

- Mt Eliza Melbourne Business School Leadership Development Programme (sponsored by The Skills Organisation): Andy Gowland-Douglas, Buller District Council.

- Leadership Development Centre Leadership in Practice Programme: Nicola Pinfold, Group Manager Community and Planning at Dunedin City Council.

SOLGM would like to acknowledge and thank everyone that contributed to what was a very special evening - our Gala Dinner sponsors, the members of our various judging panels, and importantly, all the councils and individuals that took the time to enter.

We've updated our website with further details (highly commended citations etc.). And we've posted photos from the evening on our Facebook page - tag yourself!