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Rotorua mountain biking strategy wins local government Award

25 July 2017

Rotorua mountain biking strategy wins local government EXCELLENCE Award

Turning Rotorua into a globally recognised destination for mountain bikers has paid dividends for the city and surrounds in many ways.

Now the leadership and strategy needed to see that goal realised as a highly successful project has seen Rotorua Lakes Council win the MartinJenkins Judges' Choice Award for Outstanding Value and Service Delivery in this year’s LGNZ EXCELLENCE Awards.

The project was announced as the award winner at a gala dinner in Auckland attended by more than 650 delegates from local and central government, and stakeholders, last night. Now in their fourth year, the EXCELLENCE Awards recognise and celebrate the key leadership role that local government plays in communities around the country.

Rotorua Lakes Council took a long-term, strategic intervention approach to maximise recognition of the region as a global mountain biking mecca. The council interventions focused on trails and infrastructure, collaboration and partnerships, and major events.

The mountain bike strategy has been a 20-year-journey for Rotorua, taking in the 2006 world championships, the world single-speed championships (2010 and November 2017), and the Crankworx World Series event.

It has involved extensive consultation and collaboration with iwi, the community and local businesses with the Council now holding a 49 per cent share in promotional company Mountain Bike Events Ltd which has been awarded Crankworx until 2027. The 2016 Crankworx event alone brought in $8 million to the community.

Outside of events, the number of people riding the Whakarewarewa trails increased from approximately 55,000 to 250,000 between 2005 to 2016, while the Te Ara Ahi Thermal by Bike trail opened in 2013.

LGNZ President Lawrence Yule says Rotorua is a jewel in New Zealand’s outdoor adventure crown.

“When you think of Rotorua, mountain biking is one of the first things that springs to mind. This is the result of a well thought out and executed strategy and a wonderful achievement for the region and the Council,” Mr Yule says.

Awards judges said Rotorua is now internationally recognised as a mountain biking destination and the spin-off from that is real and visible.

“Rotorua has a clear strategy and what they are doing is specialising in a niche they are growing and that will continue to have benefits. Mountain biking has become to Rotorua what film is to Wellington.”

Judges for the awards are former Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast, Chair of EQC Sir Maarten Wevers and The New Zealand Initiative’s Executive Director, Dr Oliver Hartwich.

The winners in the LGNZ EXCELLENCE Awards 2017 are:

Fulton Hogan EXCELLENCE Award for Community Engagement

• Hutt City Council – Transformation Taita - Aiming to create a brighter future for all young people while building a stronger community, Transformation Taita offers access to facilities, resources and activities to those who need it most.

Highly commended

Queenstown Lakes District Council – QLDC Winter Morning Road Reports - Throughout winter, seven days a week, QLDC provides early morning reports on road conditions throughout the district to thousands of people across multiple communications channels.

• Waikato Regional Council – Healthy Rivers: Plan for Change/Wai Ora: He Rautaki Whakapaipai - Healthy Rivers Wai Ora is a courageous collaborative approach to improving water quality, empowering communities to own the problems - and solutions - in arguably New Zealand’s most important catchment area.

Creative New Zealand EXCELLENCE Award Best Creative Place

• Napier City Council – City Vision: Small City, Big Ideas - This overarching strategy for projects in the City Centre, Ahuriri and the Waterfront areas is guiding Napier to an integrated future where opportunities are seized and the city is both beautiful and memorable.

Air New Zealand EXCELLENCE Award for Environmental Impact

• Palmerston North City Council – Green Corridors Palmerston North - More than 150,000 native trees have so far been planted as part of this project to connect the Tararua Ranges to the Manawatu River through a corridor of native plants alongside streams and tributaries, improving water quality and bringing birdlife back to the city.

Chorus EXCELLENCE Award for Best Practice in Infrastructure Management

• Waikato District Council – Waikato District Alliance - The Alliance is the largest purely roading group in the country, with an integrated team of council staff, contractors and suppliers working together to improve asset management, and renewal and maintenance services to the community – dramatically improving response times.

Crown Fibre Holdings EXCELLENCE Award for Best Practice Contribution to Local Economic Development

• West Coast Regional Council – Untamed Natural Wilderness - The West Coast’s exciting new brand has dramatically boosted tourism in the region, and is an ideal antidote to the decline in other major economic sectors that was damaging the social fabric of local communities.

Highly commended

• Rotorua Lakes Council – Rotorua Mountain Biking Strategy - The strategy to establish Rotorua as a globally recognised mountain bike destination has seen visits to the Whakarewarewa Mountain Bike Park increased from 55,000 in 2005 to 250,000 in 2016, with resulting job growth coming from increased investment in retail and support businesses.

• Selwyn District Council – Izone Business Park Development - The Izone Business Park is New Zealand’s largest fully consented and development-ready industrial park with 68 new businesses employing 1,200 people. Another 800 jobs are forecast as development work is completed by land purchasers.

MartinJenkins Judges' Choice Award for Outstanding Value and Service Delivery

• Rotorua Lakes Council – Rotorua Mountain Biking Strategy - The strategy to establish Rotorua as a globally recognised mountain bike destination has seen visits to the Whakarewarewa Mountain Bike Park increased from 55,000 in 2005 to 250,000 in 2016, with resulting job growth coming from increased investment in retail and support businesses.


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