Kawerau Adopt a Nation rafting campaign wins at LGNZ EXCELLENCE Awards | News | Kawerau

Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) is pleased to announce that Kawerau District Council’s Kawerau Adopt a Nation – 2013 World Rafting Champs has won the Fulton Hogan EXCELLENCE Award for Community Impact at the inaugural LGNZ EXCELLENCE Awards.

The Award was presented at a prestigious dinner in Nelson where more than 550 delegates from local government, central government and stakeholders celebrated the outstanding leadership role local government plays within communities.

Having part of the 2013 World Rafting Champs held on the Tarawera River’s grade 2/3 rapids spurred the Kawerau District Council to create a project to unite its community and spur its young residents’ interest in white water rafting.

Kawerau Youth Council came up with the “Kawerau Adopt a Nation” initiative. As a result, the town immersed itself in supporting the sporting event that attracted 70 rafting teams from 30 nations to Kawerau. In the ten weeks leading up the event each primary school learned all about the visiting countries, then invited the teams to their schools as they arrived to compete in the champs which used one of the area’s best resources – its river.

“Kawerau had been struggling due to industrial changes. This event was a great example of a council leveraged the champs to get its community working together on an initiative that had significant positive media coverage both here and overseas,” LGNZ President Lawrence Yule says.

“Our judges believed this event generated an enormous level of community engagement and positivity that will have lasting effects, which was one of the key objectives for the initiative.”

Finalists in the Fulton Hogan EXCELLENCE Award for Community Impact category were Wairoa District Council’s Raupanga Amenity Area and Canterbury Water Management Strategy by Environment Canterbury on behalf of Canterbury mayors, which were both highly commended. Other finalists included Rangitikei District Council’s Path to Well-being Initiative, Horowhenua District Council’s Path to Wellbeing Initiative and Hastings District Council’s William Nelson Skate Park.

The LGNZ EXCELLENCE Awards give national recognition to the strong impact projects driven by local authorities can have through community, infrastructure and economic development. Judges were a panel of experts in their field of economics, infrastructure, community and local government, including former Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast, BERL Chief Economist Dr Ganesh Nana and the Chair of New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development John Rae.