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Social wellbeing initiative in Flaxmere earns Hastings national recognition

lgnz awards 2022

Hastings District Council’s revitalisation programme – Pāharakeke, kua tae te wa! It's Flaxmere's Time! – has been highly commended at this year’s Local Government NZ EXCELLENCE awards, recognising the value of creating strong partnerships to make positive changes in communities.

It’s Flaxmere's Time! was one of eight finalists in the Kāinga Ora Homes and Communities EXCELLENCE Award for Social Wellbeing, and the recognition followed the project taking out the Beca Award for Placemaking in this year’s Taituara Awards.

Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said it was an honour to receive national recognition for the project.

“We are in the early stages of facilitating many of these new initiatives - new homes, a new supermarket, and building a new skate park to name just a few.

“We are proud of the Flaxmere community’s vision and the plans to bring it to life.”

She thanked the government, iwi and private sector partners who were working together to make a difference for the Flaxmere community, as well as committed Hastings councillors and council staff.

“We have made a commitment to revitalise Flaxmere and it’s been amazing to see people moving into their new homes over the past year with more starting. We’re also seeing the expansion of social services for health and wellbeing initiatives and new amenities.

In April this year, people started moving into 18 new social houses that have been built on council-owned land off Tarbet St in Flaxmere, where 17 affordable homes are also currently being built.

At the same time, work is underway installing the three waters and roading infrastructure for up to 150 more houses that will be built across three other council-owned pieces of land in the suburb.

Council is currently going through the process of selecting developers to build these houses, with mechanisms in place to ensure the homes are well designed, safe and warm, as well as providing a range of options to help low-income families buy them – such as shared ownership and rent-to-own.

On presenting the highly commended gong, the LGNZ Awards judging panel said the council had “chosen to tackle a big problem” and “results were starting to be seen”.

They added Flaxmere had “worked out how to get rejuvenation by partnering and working with a bunch of other agencies. They stepped into the breach, took the leadership role and made connections”.

“The council has taken a placemaking role and recognised that to have rejuvenation you have to work with a bunch of other agencies.”

LGNZ president Stuart Crosby said Hastings District Council was “an example of how local government can work in partnership with its communities to accelerate progress”.

“This project embodies localism to its core. It’s heartening to see what the council has been able to do for its community in the middle of a pandemic.”

Hutt City Council’s Te Awa Kairanga Kai Collective – a community-led initiative responding to the kai needs exacerbated by Covid-19 and addressing long-term food insecurity – was the category winner.

The overall top honour, the Fulton Hogan Local EXCELLENCE Award, was won by Porirua City Council for Streamside Project 2021-2041, an initiative restoring the health of hundreds of kilometres of streams and the city's hallowed harbour. 

The awards were announced at the LGNZ Fulton Hogan Conference Dinner in Palmerston North on Friday, 22 July.

25 July 2022

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