The Eastern Bay was the only region in the Bay to pick up an award in the annual LGNZ Excellence Awards in Wellington in July. The Awards are an annual recognition of outstanding performance by councils around the country for their work promoting and growing the wellbeing of their
A highlight of the evening was the Te Tari Taiwhenua Internal Affairs Excellence Award for Outstanding Contribution to Local Government. There were two winners, Opotiki mayor John Forbes and Waitakere councillor Penny Hulse. Both were greeted with spontaneous waiata and haka recognising their many years’ work for their communities.
Ōpōtiki District Council chief executive, Aileen Lawrie, said that it was a very proud moment and a fitting recognition for the mayor.
“It was really special to watch John go up on stage to such recognition from more than 600 attendees on the night,” she said.
“He has served the Ōpōtiki community since 1986 in various roles as councillor and mayor. He has held many national positions for local government and is well-known throughout the country for his hard work and passion for community-led growth.
Vaughan Payne, current chief executive at Waikato Regional Council and a former Ōpōtiki District Council chief executive led a haka to recognise Forbes’ achievements.
The mayor was nominated for the award by BOP Regional Council chair Doug Leeder and BOPRC councillor Stuart Crosby.
“It was clear how well-regarded he is nationally,” Lawrie said.