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Award recognises Rotorua mountain biking strategy

25 July 2017

Award recognises Rotorua mountain biking strategy

The collaborative efforts of the community and council to establish and maintain Rotorua’s global reputation as a mountain biking destination have been recognised with a local government sector award.

For the second year running Rotorua Lakes Council has won the judges’ choice award at the Local Government New Zealand EXCELLENCE Awards, this year for the district’s mountain biking strategy.

The Martin Jenkins Judges’ Choice Award for Outstanding Value and Service Delivery is a special award given to a category finalist for “outstanding delivery of best practice value and services to their community”.

The strategy, which has been an ongoing focus of the council since 2000, was also a finalist and highly commended in the Best Practice Contribution to Local Economic Development category at the 2017 LGNZ EXCELLENCE Awards in Auckland last night [24 July 2017].

Rotorua Deputy Mayor and Economic Development Portfolio Lead Dave Donaldson says the council’s involvement in cementing Rotorua as a globally recognised mountainbiking mecca goes back 17 years, to when the then council decided to try and attract the world championships.

Over the years, implementation of the council economic development strategy has involved strategic interventions across trails, infrastructure, collaboration and partnerships, and major events, leveraging Rotorua’s natural physical advantages, strong tourism sector and the ongoing growth of mountain biking as a sport and recreational activity.

Mr Donaldson says Rotorua has come a long way since then with the mountain biking sector continuing to flourish and grow, along with its contribution to the local economy.

“Council can’t take all the credit – it’s something that has grown out of a partnership with the community. The council has added to what was already happening by providing a more strategic focus to enable it to keep growing.”

Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick also acknowledged the collaboration which has ensured the success of the strategy and continues to be a key factor in the district’s mountain biking success story.

“It takes a community, with council support, to make this happen,” she says.

“We were very proud to receive the award on behalf of the wider Rotorua community.”

Awards judges said Rotorua was now internationally recognised as a mountain biking destination and the spin-off from that was “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,” the judges said.

About the LGNZ awards

• Now in their fourth year, the LGNZ EXCELLENCE Awards recognise and celebrate the leadership role local government plays in communities.

• The special judges’ award recognises “the increased value, benefit or improvements to the overall wellbeing of the people within [the winner’s] town, city, district or region, delivered through outstanding community engagement, environment, infrastructure, creative or economic development strategies, projects and initiatives”.

• Council won the judges’ award last year for the Te Arawa partnership and was highly commended in the Community Engagement category for its work on the partnership.

• Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick, Deputy Mayor Dave Donaldson and councillors Charles Sturt, Raj Kumar and Tania Tapsell were at last night’s awards ceremony.

Economic impact

• An estimated 60,000 people (about 5% of those from overseas) visit Rotorua to ride in Whakarewarewa Forest every year

• The forest trails add an estimated $6.7m per annum to Rotorua’s GDP

• Crankworx has boosted the local economy by an estimated $14.8m to date (over 3 years) and had an estimated worldwide broadcast viewership of 11.3 million in 2017

More information

• View LGNZ’s media release relating to the Rotorua award HERE

• View a short video clip about the Rotorua mountain biking strategy HERE

• View information about other LGNZ EXCELLENCE Awards winners HERE


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