On Wednesday, 19 November the participants returned to Treasury for the final day of LocalNZ. With over 200 guests soon to be at Parliament, the group were under pressure to finalise their presentations – each person needing to turn three days of experiences into a product that highlighted their most important findings. Once this was completed, the group enjoyed a brief session with Mayor Celia Wade-Brown. She shared how Wellington is dealing with local issues, building on the information Deputy Mayor Justin Lester had given them the previous day.

The Beehive Banquet Hall proved an excellent location for the finale. The room is enormous, and what better location for a group of young people to share their thoughts on governance than Parliament. Following introductions from Kura Moeahu in te reo, Wendy and MP Paul Goldsmith (the event’s host), the participants each spoke, covering a range of issues that they had encountered over the previous days. The experiences of the previous few days had clearly lit a fire, and the participants put forward their ideas passionately, drawing on the wealth of knowledge they had accumulated throughout the workshop. One of the overarching themes of the presentations was leadership and was perhaps best exemplified by the analogy offered by participant Leah Wilkie: we can either lie in BED (blame, excuses, denial), or we can pick up an OAR (ownership, accountability, responsibility) and move the waka  forward, together in unison.

LocalNZ conference 19 November 2014.

Paul Goldsmith’s introduction

During the Whanaganui River trip,  documentarians Chris Barry-Goss and Matthew Barry worked tirelessly to capture as much footage as possible, with Chris subsequently editing furiously to produce a video record of the trip in time. The result was fantastic. The video will be on the LocalNZ website  and is definitely worth a watch. We will let you know when the video and the documentary are public on YouTube in an upcoming blog.

Following the presentations, lunch gave participants and guests a chance to mingle. The quality of the group’s work left many curious to learn more, and the breadth of High Commissioners, MPs, Councillors, public servants. business people and many others left the participants spoilt for conversational choice. Soon though, the group were back to Treasury one last time for prizegiving. Here, Girol provided his feedback and gave each participant a certificate.

The McGuinness Institute would like to thank all our supporters and speakers and the organisers of the A Place to Live conference for contributing to the success of LocalNZ. This workshop would not have been possible without the help of all of you.


LocalNZ conference 19 November 2014.

LocalNZ complete – the participants with Wendy and Girol after prizegiving


On a related note – below are a couple of Wanganui Chronicle articles that centre on the A Place to Live conference and also mention LocalNZ: