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Two forward-thinking tourism projects finalists in EXCELLENCE Awards

Two innovative and future-focused new tourism projects are finalists in the 2019 Local Government New Zealand EXCELLENCE Awards.

The awards, now in their sixth year, recognise and celebrate the key leadership role local government plays within communities around the country.

The Coromandel Electric Vehicle Touring Loop is the Thames-Coromandel District Council’s new network of fast charging stations. Chargers have been placed at key points around the Coromandel, and for the first time put the entire district in range of electric vehicle travel.

The council hopes the chargers will encourage locals and visitors to explore or visit the district in electric vehicles. Knowing that there is a fast, reliable charging station nearby eliminates ‘range anxiety’, which is the fear your car’s battery might run out of power before it can be recharged.

The council also hopes the Loop will encourage more people to think about switching to electric vehicles, to help safeguard the environment in the decades to come.

The Loop is collaboration between the council, PowerCo, ChargeNet NZ and the Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority.

The council is a finalist in the EXCELLENCE Award for Environmental Well-being category for the project.

The Environmental Well-being award criteria is for projects that enhance the environmental well-being of its community; demonstrate a sustainable process, with durable results; and/or make significant improvements in health and safety.

The judges praised the council’s leadership of the Coromandel Electric Vehicle Touring Loop project, commending it for “getting ahead of the game to future proof its district for electric vehicles while promoting it as a branded tourism route”.

The Gisborne City Council’s project ‘Tupapa – Our stand. Our story’, a project which tells the story of the region’s heritage, is also a finalist. The council’s project combines a walking trail with digital media story-telling to showcase the Gisborne region’s unique cultural heritage. The project is a bilingual, multimedia resource developed with local iwi to tell the region’s story: a dual heritage of great navigators and first arrivals in New Zealand.

‘Tupapa – Our Stand. Our story’ is a finalist in the EXCELLENCE Award for Cultural Well-being category.

The award is given to the project that best enhances the cultural well-being of its community; enhances local government’s engagement with communities and citizens; and/or delivers accessible and responsive services to the diversity of ethnic and social groups in our communities.

The judges praised Gisborne City Council’s “ingenious way to capture the attention of all ages and sectors” and for its “collaborative approach to telling the story of the region’s dual heritage,” and for demonstrating “broad community engagement, including working with four iwi”.

LGNZ president Dave Cull says being named as a finalist is a significant achievement and reflects strong leadership and the innovative work being delivered by councils across the country.

“These EXCELLENCE Awards demonstrate the value local government provides to community, economic development, infrastructure and the environment,” says Dave.

“The sector should be incredibly proud of its achievements as we celebrate these outstanding projects. The finalist projects are real examples of how local government delivers exemplary value and services to New Zealanders in a collaborative and inclusive way.”

Judges for the awards are former Wellington Mayor Dame Kerry Prendergast, distinguished diplomat and public servant Sir Maarten Wevers, and executive director of the New Zealand Initiative, Dr Oliver Hartwich.

Category winners will be announced at a gala dinner during the LGNZ Conference, to be held in Wellington on July 8 this year.

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