At the 2016 LGNZ EXCELLENCE Awards
Fulton Hogan Excellence Award for Community Engagement.
Highly Commended: Rotorua Lakes Council’s ‘Te Arawa Partnership Project’.
This is a groundbreaking collaboration between Rotorua Lakes Council and Te Arawa to work towards creating an innovative local government and iwi partnership.
The council and the iwi governed, managed and undertook the Te Arawa Partnership Project in a genuinely collaborative way, working together to research options to build greater links and involvement of Maori in local government and then to implement the partnership.
The council initiated the project in late 2013 to help deliver on its intent, set out in the Rotorua 2030 vision document, to develop a new partnership model with Te Arawa, support community leadership, work innovatively outside traditional delivery mechanisms, and reshape council to be more effective and responsive.
Te Arawa had also called for a new partnership with the council. Aims included ensuring recognition of the significance of Te Arawa as tangata whenua, and identifying and leveraging strategic opportunities to work closely together for the betterment and successful development of the Rotorua district.
Following discussions on how the relationship between the council and Te Arawa might be strengthened, both parties worked together to develop an innovative, strategic and enduring partnership.
The project and approach involved broad consultation with iwi and the wider community through a special consultative process.
A major innovation includes the development of a charitable trust, Te Tatau o Te Arawa, to provide ongoing engagement between the iwi and the council. Following community consultation it was also agreed Te Arawa representatives would be appointed to council committees and strategic working parties.
The partnership was also the winner of the MartinJenkins Judges’ Choice Award for Outstanding Value and Service Delivery, with judges saying it represented “a step change in council / iwi relationships which will influence the manner in which relationships develop in other parts of New Zealand”.
Judges said the partnership built trust against obstacles and was delivered through outstanding engagement with the community.
This article was first published in the August 2016 issue of NZ Local Government Magazine.