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Major global award for Whanganui

Major global award for Whanganui: Top7 Intelligent Community

Whanganui Mayor Annette Main is “absolutely thrilled” the Whanganui District has been included in the world’s Top7 Intelligent Communities by the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF).

Whanganui joins seven communities worldwide which have been awarded the prestigious title for their work on developing community and economic prosperity using broadband technology.

The Top7 Intelligent Communities were chosen today at 12.00 noon, NZ time in a live stream on the ICF website.

They are: Hsinchu City, Taiwan; Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Muelheim an der Ruhr, Germany; New Taipei City, Taiwan; Surrey, British Columbia, Canada; Whanganui, New Zealand and Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

For the last four years, Whanganui has been selected by the ICF as a Smart21 Intelligent Community, of which the Top7 are chosen from.

Mayor Main, who chairs the Whanganui Digital Leaders Forum, congratulated the other Top7 communities and said Whanganui was in impressive company.

“If you look at the Top7 list for 2016 you can see that we are ranked up there with some huge cities like Montreal, Canada. It’s incredibly exciting.”

The Mayor said the application process was extremely challenging and that years of work have gone in to developing Whanganui’s digital framework.

“Our application focused on urban and regional planning and how it is impacting the way people live, work and create in their cities and towns.

“We started by lobbying for an early ultrafast broadband build, which was completed last year.

From there we have been determined to make the most of Whanganui’s digital infrastructure.

One of our latest projects, #GetDigital, which we are working on across our regions, helps small businesses get online in order to create more economic opportunities.

“Our goal is to develop a knowledge workforce in Whanganui and New Zealand which means everyone from a barista to a student to a chief executive is confidently using digital technology.

Whanganui’s vision is to be a leader in the digital world and we are well on our way. We get calls most weeks from other councils in New Zealand asking about our Smart21 status and asking for advice.”

Mayor Main says Whanganui’s Top7 application is a community wide project, with innovative projects from businesses and not-for-profit groups, as well as from the Whanganui District Council.

“The Top7 award is fantastic but in the end it really is the journey that matters. It’s all about improving our communities and making it a better world for everyone to live in.

“No other New Zealand community has been selected as a Smart21 Intelligent Community, but that doesn’t mean this won’t happen in the future. If other councils or districts want to apply, we are only a phone call away and are happy to talk through the process. One of our aims is to make New Zealand the best place to be when it comes to using digital technology for a sustainable future for everyone.”

ICF will choose the 18th Intelligent Community of the Year from the pool of the Top7 in June at the ICF Summit in Columbus, Ohio.


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