Waimakariri District Council Governance Manager, Sarah Nichols, has been awarded an Overseas Manager Exchange to Canada by the NZ Society of Local Government Managers (SOLGM). 

The Exchange, sponsored by Marsh, provides a hosted visit to British Columbia in Canada and a reciprocal visit to New Zealand. The aim of the Exchange is to provide a leadership and development experience for a local government professional.


The judges were impressed with the impact of Sarah’s work on the local community, particularly with under-represented groups. Her reach covers governance, collaboration, resilience and partnership with Māori. 

SOLGM’s Workforce Leadership Manager, Jenny Spencer, said that the opportunities provided by an Exchange to British Columbia are significant.  

“Sarah is keen to learn new ideas from other communities about how they enable democracy through community engagement, and to share her wide experience and examples of ‘good practice’ built up over 15 years working in the sector.” 

SOLGM’s Chief Executive, Karen Thomas said that the Overseas Manager Exchanges provide a valuable opportunity to learn about local government in another country and congratulated Sarah. 

“Sarah has done some fantastic work and is a great candidate for this Exchange.  

“At a time when local government professionals are working tirelessly to provide services and support to their communities, it is great to be able to announce this news.” 

Thanks to Marsh for their long-term support.” 

Also announced today were the six category winners of the 2020 McGredy Winder SOLGM Local Government Excellence Awards®, including a Supreme winner, the Brookfields Emerging Leader of the Year Award, several other Overseas Manager Exchanges (sponsored by Civic Financial Services, AskYourTeam and Marsh), the Skills Organisation Melbourne Business School Leadership Scholarship, the SOLGM Distinguished Management Award, and the President’s Award for Distinguished Contribution to SOLGM. 

SOLGM’s annual Gala Dinner event was cancelled due to COVID-19, and so award recipients were announced online this year.