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Harry O' Rourke Honoured

August 29, 2007

Media Release (For Immediate Release)

Harry O' Rourke Honoured

Waitakere City Council’s Chief Executive Officer, Harry O’Rourke, has been awarded the New Zealand Society of Local Government Managers highest honour, the Distinguished Management Award. He is one of only seven people who have been presented with this Award.

Mr O’Rourke, who is one of the country’s longest serving local government officers, was recognised at the Society of Local Government Managers (SOLGM) conference in Wellington for 40 years of outstanding service to the sector.

He retires in March next year after 36 years with Waitakere City Council – six of them as Chief Executive Officer.

Receiving his award from the new SOLGM President, Steve Parry, Mr O’Rourke predictably gave the credit for his achievements to the people he had worked with.

“I have always believed that people who work for Local Government go to work to make a positive difference in people’s lives and that is a very worthwhile way to spend your own life”, he says.

Mr O’Rourke began his career as a Committee Secretary with the Mt Roskill Borough Council in 1967. In 1972, he joined Waitemata County Council as a Planning Committee Secretary and rose to become the City Secretary of Waitemata City Council in 1979 and later Town Clerk/Chief Executive Officer which he was at amalgamation in 1989.

When Waitemata was merged with New Lynn, Glen Eden and Henderson Boroughs in 1989, Mr O’Rourke joined the new Waitakere City Council as General Manager – Finance and Administration.

He became the Chief Executive Officer in March 2001 and initiated the building of Waitakere Central and the Ratanui Street complex which includes the new central library, car park building and Unitec extensions.

The library is a New Zealand first – possibly world first joint venture between a local authority and a tertiary institution to share library facilities. He has the Massey, Glen Eden and New Lynn libraries to his credit. The undergrounding of the rail in New Lynn was one of his initiatives.

In addition to his administrative duties, Mr O’Rourke has been a senior national figure in the Civil Defence organisation in New Zealand.

Mr O’Rourke is also a senior international official in the sport of Judo, being himself a Black Belt, 6th Dan.


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