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Nelson Council And WSP Take Top Honours At Āpōpō Asset Management Awards

Nelson City Council and WSP have won Āpōpō’s Supreme Award for developing a Kaupapa Māori Asset Management Framework.

Today, a whakatau was held at Nelson City Council with Te Tauihu iwi to receive Te Kōmata o Te Rangi – Supreme Asset Management Excellence award.

The event recognised the critical success factors of this mahi, being the integration of mātauranga Māori (body of ancestral knowledge) and the participation of ngā iwi o Te Tauihu in the work undertaken.

The taonga (award) recognises and celebrates the pinnacle of achievement in infrastructure asset management in Aotearoa New Zealand. Te Tauihu (top of the South) will share kaitiakitanga (custodianship) of the taonga until it is returned in 2025 to the award ceremony held in Ōtautahi (Christchurch).

Āpōpō is Aotearoa New Zealand’s lead association for infrastructure asset management professionals. It is previously known as IPWEA NZ (Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia).

“Asset management frameworks help organisations make decisions about their infrastructure to achieve their strategic goals. They're about balancing costs, benefits, and risks to keep everything running smoothly,” says WSP Kaitohutohu Māori - Matua (Senior Advisor - Māori) Nathan Capper.

“The Kaupapa Māori framework is the first-of-its-kind to be developed for asset management. It provides an alternative approach to asset planning while facilitating iwi Māori input to be integrated and considered in decision making through the application of a cultural framework.”

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Nelson City Council Kaihautū, Pania Lee, says iwi capacity to engage on the asset management process has been a significant challenge.

“In 2020, iwi practitioners recommended Nelson City Council engage an independent Māori cultural consultant to provide technical support through a Kaupapa Māori lens, and in 2023 Te Tauihu iwi and Nelson City Council supported WSP Māori Business Advisory Services to facilitate engagement between iwi and Council on the AMP process.

"What we know is that when we include whānau, hapū and iwi in our processes - we plan, design and build great infrastructure projects."

Nelson Mayor Nick Smith says the award recognises the practical work Nelson City Council is doing to implement the Together Te Tauihu iwi partnership agreement, with infrastructure projects making up a huge portion of Council’s work and budgets.

“The award recognises the benefits of early engagement with iwi that enables cultural issues to be identified at the beginning of the design process and for engineering structures to include distinctly New Zealand design features.”

The innovative new framework aligns with international asset management standards (ISO, IIMM, NAMS). It acts as a starting point for discussions between partners on cultural values that may be woven through planning and decision making on assets and provides the ability for conversations located within a local context to be adapted and adopted for a national audience.

Commenting on the work, Āpōpō’s judging panel noted how well it elevated the importance of Te Ao Māori (Māori worldview) and mātauranga in delivering long-term resilient, considered, and culturally-aware asset management practices.

“It's great to see Te Ao Māori considered in all its forms in asset planning, and refreshing to see how much thought has gone into this piece of work. The project enhances asset management practices by fostering iwi participation, and integrating indigenous knowledge and values into the asset management lifecycle make it a deserving recipient of the Supreme Award. It symbolises a step change in infrastructure asset management excellence.

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