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Hamilton City Council dual finalist in Excellence Awards.

Hamilton City Council is a finalist in two categories of this year’s Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) Excellence Awards.

The Council’s ‘Maangai Maaori – Creating History in Hamilton’ entry has been named as a finalist in the Cultural Well-being category, while ‘Helping New Zealanders See the Light’ is a finalist in the Environmental Well-being category.

The Maangai Maaori project, meaning ‘the voice of Maaori’, culminated in the appointment of five Maaori representatives to Council committees with full voting rights in October 2018.

Representing both iwi (Waikato-Tainui) and maata waka (all other Maaori who live in Hamilton), ngaa Maangai Maaori have fast become part of the fabric of Council, reinforcing the important connection of tangata whenua to Kirikiriroa, Hamilton. The representatives are also challenging staff and councillors to give robust consideration to Maaori perspectives for the benefit of all Hamiltonians.

The ‘Helping New Zealanders See the Light’ project, which saw 16,000 streetlights in Hamilton/Waikato replaced with LED alternatives, was driven by the Council’s purpose “to improve the well-being of Hamiltonians”.

The new lights have been well received by residents and praised by environmentalists, health professionals and lighting experts.

The better quality of light and softer warm colour means less light-spill into homes, increases the safety and visibility of road users, and is also considered better for nocturnal animals like the pekapeka-tou-roa (New Zealand long-tailed bat).

‘Helping New Zealanders See the Light’ is also expected to save $250,000 in the first year and $550,000 in the second year through reduced power consumption and maintenance costs.

Hamilton City Council Deputy Chief Executive Lance Vervoort is pleased these innovative and creative projects are being acknowledged on a national scale and says it is something the whole community can be proud of.

“Being named as a finalist in these prestigious awards is recognition of the hard work and effort put in by the team here at the Council and the many supporting organisations who partner with us,” says Mr Vervoort.

“Our aim is to be inclusive, original and smart in our thinking and these projects show we’re on the right track.”

According to LGNZ, the judging panel took particular note of entries with strong strategic vision and a clear focus on delivery.

Winners will be announced at the LGNZ Awards ceremony in Wellington on Monday 8 July 2019.

© Scoop Media

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