Innovation and excellence in New Zealand's local government management sector was recognised tonight at a Gala Dinner held in Auckland.

At the Dinner, held by the Society of Local Government Managers (SOLGM), seven exceptional and innovative project winners were announced, including a supreme award winner. Also announced were recipients of a leadership award, several overseas exchanges and a leadership scholarship.

Auckland Council took out the 2019 McGredy Winder SOLGM Local Government Excellence Awards® Supreme Award for Kia Puāwai which also won the Capability Group Award for Innovation in Organisation and People Development.

Kia Puāwai is a programme designed to improve employment outcomes in South Auckland by bringing unemployed local people into the Council's contact centre workforce. Kia Puāwai is a programme delivered by Auckland Council, the Manukau Office of WINZ and Māori training provider, The Solomon Group that offers not just a job, but the prospect of a career.

Judges described Kia Puāwai as an inspirational example of a successful cross-sectoral collaboration.

"Kia Puāwai has provided life-changing opportunities for graduates, is a reliable source of motivated staff for the contact centre, and has sustainable benefits for South Auckland, Raymond Horan, SOLGM's Chief Advisor said.

"The joining-up of capabilities shows the benefits of local leadership and local action transcending economic and social barriers."

Also announced on the night was Monique Davidson, Central Hawke's Bay District Council Chief Executive as the recipient of The Skills Organisation Melbourne

Business School Leadership Scholarship which will see her take part in Melbourne Business School's most senior leadership programme, Leading for Strategic Success.

The judges praised Monique's impressive career development journey, her commitment to a local government career, and the success of her ambitious goal setting.

"Monique has embraced her role as a young female leader and is regularly called upon to inspire others in their leadership roles, said Fiona Purchas, SOLGM's Manager of Leadership Programmes.

"We know that Monique will maximise the international leadership perspective and embrace the experience gained from this Scholarship, and the sector will benefit from her insight."

Tararua District Council Risk Manager, Sandy Lowe, was been awarded the prestigious Brookfields Emerging Leader of the Year Award.

The judges were impressed by the way Sandy steps towards challenges, her ability to execute difficult tasks, and her approach and leadership that has a direct impact on council and the community.

"Sandy's desire to learn, communicate and share her experience with others is admirable, said Fiona Purchas, SOLGM's Manager of Leadership Programmes.

"She displays all the characteristics desirable in a local government leader and her story is an inspiration for anyone entering local government."

Also announced were four Overseas Manager Exchanges, supported by JLT and Civic Financial Services. Rex Capil, General Manager, Community and Futures, Southland District Council will head to British Columbia, Canada; Bronda Smith, Group Manager, Corporate Support and Services, Central Hawke's Bay District Council will head to NSW, Australia; Alan Adcock, GM Corporate and CFO, Whangarei District Council, to Queensland Australia; and Emma Davis, Head of Strategic Policy, Christchurch City Council to the US.

SOLGM's Chief Executive, Karen Thomas said that the Gala Dinner is an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the amazing work of public servants in the local government sector.

"This is our 5th Gala Dinner and it's a very special event for the local government sector.

"We recognise the outstanding contribution and commitment to communities, and also celebrate the local government professionals that are investing in their professional development.

"Congratulations to all the winners and recipients."


For further information and photos, please contact Ann Thomson, SOLGM, 027 294 3852. A full media kit is available on the SOLGM website here.