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Hauraki District Council rises to the challenge

Team Hauraki Hiko, from left, Rebecca Jenks, Lisa Moore, Sarah Holmes, Grace Davies, James Abraham, Chris Zampese. Supplied image.

Hauraki District Council has won the Kiwi leg of this year’s Australasian Management Challenge, competing against other councils from around the country. 

 The team will now go on to challenge the best in Australia later this month.

In its 25th year, the Australasian Management Challenge involves teams of six local government staff and a mentor, tackling a series of real-life scenarios based on the kinds of management challenges that may arise in their day-to-day working environment. This year’s event has been held virtually due to COVID-19.

Hauraki District Council chief executive Langley Cavers says the challenge is all about developing and growing staff leadership and management skills.

“It’s a great learning opportunity in a very unique environment. We’ve put five teams forward for the challenge over the years and they’ve all come away with new insights and enthusiasm to achieve more in their roles and make a positive difference for our communities.”

He says, as the smallest council to put a team forward this year it’s incredibly rewarding to have taken out the top spot in the country against much bigger city councils.

“It just goes to show what I’ve always known, which is that our staff are of a very high calibre and among the best local government professionals in New Zealand. I’m incredibly proud of the team, I’m incredibly proud of all our staff, and I can’t wait to see how we get on against the cream of Australia later this month.”

Team mentor Charan Mischewski says the team started working together prior to the challenge as part of an integrated professional training and development programme.

“The programme gave them an opportunity to polish up on specific skills, like presenting and debating, and practice working together ahead of time. They got to know each really well before the challenge.”

Aside from their New Zealand win, team member Rebecca Jenks says the highlight of the challenge has been getting to know more about each other’s roles across the organisation.

“We all work in different areas of council and this has really increased our understanding of other departments and our understanding of council in general and how everything works together.

“I’d encourage everyone in the organisation to take part in this if they have the opportunity.” 

Although coy about the tactics they aim to employ across the Tasman, the team agrees their main plan is to win - and have fun along the way.

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