Shirley-Papanui Community Board 1989-2010 - Christchurch City ...

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Shirley-Papanui Community Board 1989-2010 - Christchurch City ...

Shirley-Papanui Community Board 1989 - 2010

The First 21 Years Of New Zealand’s Most Awarded Community Board


Shirley-Papanui Community Board1989 - 2010

Since its inception in 1989, the Shirley-Papanui Community Board has

been one of New Zealand’s strongest and most innovative authorities.

It has piloted new and unique projects, given out around $1,000,000

to support community groups and projects, and won numerous

national awards.

This book has been written to celebrate this success and to document

real innovation for other community groups to learn from. It marks and

records just some of the key projects of the first 21 years of what is,

without doubt, one of New Zealand’s most successful community boards.

1


“I learnt to value and appreciate the role of community boards at the rock

face as a Community Board member and Councillor for Banks Peninsula.

Community boards do a great job advocating the interests of their

communities and keeping an overview of what is happening at grass

roots. Social histories are particularly important as they inform future

generations what interested us and what we achieved.”

Bob Parker, Mayor of Christchurch

“Parish pump politics means you will always get an ebb and flow of quality

on Community Boards as people come and go. Shirley-Papanui has always

functioned well and had superior quality – mostly because they have had

strong, solid leadership in Yvonne Palmer.”

Garry Moore, former Mayor of Christchurch

“The Shirley-Papanui Community Board was always one of the first to pick

up innovative ideas, particularly those involving children and families.

They were always a delight to work with.”

Lyn Campbell, former Christchurch City Council Children’s Advocate

“I believe the Shirley-Papanui Community Board is one of the most

community minded and innovative boards in the country. Not only are

they active in supporting organisations in their area - that is, financially

and with advice and knowledge - they are also pro-active in giving training

opportunities and genuinely take an interesting in the agencies they

identify as key to their area. I am thankful for their input, support

and accessibility.”

Ginny Larson, The Neighbourhood Trust

Contents

The Birth Of Community Boards 4

An Overview 5

1989-1992 6

1992-1995 10

1995-1998 15

1998-2001 19

2001-2004 23

2004-2007 26

2007-2010 31

Awards 36

Support Staff 37

The Keys To Our Success 40

The Future of Community Boards 41

Contact Details 42

2 3


HILLS RD

The Birth Of Community Boards

The Shirley-Papanui Community Board – An Overview

The most comprehensive reform of local government that New Zealand

has ever seen took place in 1989.

The number of local authorities was reduced from more than 800 to 87

and community boards were introduced.

There were 159 community boards then, though not every city in New

Zealand had them. They were charged with ensuring each parent territorial

authority knew and met its community’s needs.

In Christchurch, the reforms saw six territorial local authorities

disestablished (Paparua County Council, Waimairi District Council,

Riccarton Borough Council, Heathcote County Council, the former

Christchurch City Council and the Christchurch Drainage Board). These all

became a newer and much larger Christchurch City Council that - at that

time - had six community boards. This was increased to eight in 2006

when the Banks Peninsula District and Christchurch City Councils merged.

The Christchurch City Council welcomed its community boards

immediately, allocating them a budget for progressing local capital works

and for general community development. In comparison with other

areas in New Zealand, the Christchurch boards have always enjoyed a

significantly higher level of delegated authority.

Manager of Governance at Local Government New Zealand, Mike Reid said

the Christchurch boards have also always had a discretionary fund which

they can use to support community projects and services. Even in 2010,

not every board in the country has this luxury.

“The Christchurch City Council has always had a very constructive

relationship with its community boards, with effective communications

systems between the two parties. Mostly this is born from an underlying

philosophy that any decision that has implications for a neighbourhood

or community goes to the relevant community board. The Christchurch

boards are not just an after thought…they’re an active part of the decision

making process.”

Mike Richardson, who was chief executive of the Christchurch City Council

from 1993 until 2003, said that one reason for that was because council

staff always supported the boards.

“We had people like the late Don Hampton who was one of the Council’s

Group Managers, who were really strong advocates for the boards and

always pushed for them to be allocated more resources, support and

delegations…particularly after the 1992, 1995 and 1998 elections. This

found favour with different politicians for two key reasons: the first,

because of a genuine heartfelt commitment to democracy at the grass

roots level and the second, because of a belief that Councillors should

concentrate on strategic direction and leave smaller decisions to the

boards. Both of them valid reasons.”

“The [Christchurch community] boards were at the time [in 1989],

and still are, the envy of many other community boards throughout

New Zealand for the support they receive from Council and staff.”

‘The Community Boards of Christchurch, 10 years of service 1989-1999’

The Role Of Community Boards

The general purposes of community boards are set down in Section

101ZY of the Local Government Amendment Act (No. 2) 1989. They

are to:

• Represent and act as an advocate for the interests of the

community.

• Consider and report on any matter referred to them by the

territorial local authority, as well as any issues of interest to the

community board itself.

• Make an annual submission to the territorial local authority on

expenditure in the local authority.

• Maintain an overview of services provided by the territorial

authority within the community.

• Communicate with community organisations and special

interest groups in the community, and undertake any other

responsibilities delegated by the local authority.

With one of the largest populations of Christchurch city’s eight community

boards, the Shirley-Papanui Community Board represents around 60,000

people and almost 23,000 households.

Since 1989, this board has had many notable members. Garry Moore

served as a City Councillor on it from 1992-1998 before he was elected

Mayor of Christchurch, a position he held for nine years.

The late Graham Condon, a Paralympic champion and Christchurch City

Councillor served on it from 1995 until his tragic death in 2007.

Remarkably, Yvonne Palmer was on the board from its inception until

2010 when she stepped down. She chaired it from 1995 (except for a

period of 12 months from October 2008, when the position was held by

Megan Evans who subsequently resigned).

With more national awards than any of its nationwide counterparts,

this community board is recognised as one of the most innovative in

the country.

It was the first to partner with the Ministry of Education and see a

community playground built on Ministry land, it was the first to create

a dog park, it created and launched Neighbourhood Week– an event

now run by every other community board in Christchurch, it was the first

to hold a youth forum to find out what the community’s young people

wanted, and it was the first to listen to them and establish a youth centre

in Papanui.

But most importantly, it regularly recognises the efforts and contributions

of individuals and groups within its community with five awards operating

annually.

“Everyone will always think their board is the best, but the fact that

Shirley-Papanui has won more awards than any other community

board in the country proves it has the right to that title. I couldn’t

fault it.”

Myra Barry, Shirley-Papanui Community Board Member 1998-2007

The Shirley-Papanui Community Board’s population*:

• Makes up 17.3% of Christchurch’s entire population.

• Grew by 12.8% between 2001 and 2006 (the biggest increase of

any ward in Christchurch).

• Has a median age of 35.

• Identifies mostly with the European ethnic group (76.7%).

• Has only 7.4% of people who identify themselves as Maori

(nationally that figure is 14.6%).

• Has a median income of $24,900 (for those aged 15 and over).

• Mostly own their own home (64.2%).

• Pays a median weekly rent of $210.

• Is mostly made up of the ‘couple without children’ family type.

*These figures are based on the 2006 Census

Shirley-Papanui Ward

and Community Boundary

2007

0

WAIMAIRI WARD

RICCARTON-WIGRAM

WARD

GREYWACKE RD

kilometres

SAWYERS ARMS RD

2 4

COUTTS ISLAND RD

JOHNS RD

GREERS RD

BLIGHS RD

MAIN NORTH RD

PAPANUI RD

Prepared by the Monitoring and Research Team, CCC, May 2007

MAIN NORTH RD

RADCLIFFE RD

PRESTONS RD

WINTERS RD

CRANFORD ST

INNES RD

EDGEWARE RD

BEALEY AVE

SPREYDON-HEATHCOTE

WARD

NORTHERN MOTORWAY

SHIRLEY-PAPANUI

WARD

MARSHLAND RD

NORTH AVON RD

KAINGA RD

LWR STYX RD

LWR STYX RD

BURWOOD-PEGASUS

WARD

HAGLEY-FERRYMEAD

WARD

G:\Resources\Data and Analysis\BaseLayers\Wards\Christchurch City Ward Boundaries for 2007 Election Booklet.wor

The ward boundaries for

Shirley-Papanui stretch from

the mouth of the Waimakariri

south to Bottle Lake, inland to

Coutts Island and The Groynes,

and south to St Albans. The

community takes in Belfast,

Spencerville, Chaneys,

Casebrook, Redwood,

Papanui, parts of Merivale

and Mairehau.

4 5


1989 – 1992

The Board

Judith Bruce, Yvonne Palmer, William Kennedy

David King, Anne Taylor, Cr Des King, Sally Thompson,

Cr Newton Dodge, Barbara Ford (Committee Secretary), Cr Dennis Rich (Chair), Stephen Phillips

(Community Manager), Cr Gordon L Freeman

The Election

The first elections for community boards were held alongside the council

elections on 14 October 1989.

Because they were held at a time when six local authorities were

being disestablished, a huge number of representatives from those

organisations were contesting for seats not only on the new Christchurch

City Council but also on the community boards. In fact, 86 people stood

for the 24 council seats – more than twice the number of candidates

for the City Council at the previous 1986 election. And, because the

community boards were new, they attracted a large number of candidates

who were new to politics.

“It was a busy and vocal campaign. The Christchurch Action Team that I

was part of had a double decker bus, and I remember Gordon Freeman

and Des King running around with megaphones constantly. There was

door knocking and street corner meetings…it was much more grass roots

and active than future campaigns would be,” recalls Yvonne Palmer, who

was elected to the board.

Voters were equally prolific with voter turnout across the city for the

election reaching 61.2%. The previous high had been 60.5% in 1974,

though this is not an exact comparison given the new make-up of the

Christchurch City Council.

The first ever Shirley-Papanui Community Board was made up of four

City Councillors and six community board representatives. They were

supported by a committee secretary and a community manager.

The Initial Education

Of the ten members on the first Shirley-Papanui Board, the majority were

new to politics.

Yvonne Palmer - who was one of those newcomers - remembers a time

of insecurity.

“We were so new, we had no idea what to expect. One of the biggest

educations we had was learning what would and what would not be

possible under Council rule. That was a real wake up call, and meant

some people realised they’d made promises in the campaign that they

weren’t going to be able to deliver.”

“It was all so terribly formal – one of the biggest surprises was learning

you couldn’t just say what you wanted, there were standing orders to obey

and it was really quite confusing as to what you could and couldn’t do,”

adds Sally Thompson, who was also elected to the board that term.

Then Chair, Councillor Dennis Rich said even those who had served on the

former councils were unsure of the protocols around community boards.

“It was all so new. A lot of the newcomers were pretty naïve, but even

those of us who had been on Council were unsure. We had little idea of

what powers were delegated to the community board.”

At that time, Christchurch boards had a lot more capital, power and

autonomy than their counterparts around the country. The board had

a discretionary fund of $47,900 in its first year, which was increased to

$50,000 the year after.

The Council also delegated specific functions to its community boards.

These included the ability to:

• Grant community awards.

• Approve road names.

• Grant discretionary funds to community groups/projects.

• Sit on hearing panels.

• Prepare, change and review management plans for local reserves.

For staff too, the newness of community boards meant it was an

interesting time. Barbara Ford, then committee secretary, remembers it

took a long time for the elected members to settle in.

“It was a huge shift in local government structure. For the Councillors

who’d been around in the previous terms (on various local bodies) the

community boards were almost a gimmick. I think it took until the end

of the first term for things to really start working well and for those in the

sector and those in the community to really engage with the Board.”

A New Community Hub

This was the original Papanui Service Centre. It was sited on Northland’s Mall’s carpark

(pictured here at the Council’s Social Housing complex on Manse Place).

A new service centre for Papanui was established in 1989 along with the

Shirley-Papanui Community Board. Situated in a prefab next to Pizza Hutt

on the Northlands Mall carpark, the centre soon became a busy place.

“Until then, locals had had to travel into the central city to access basic

council services like paying rates, getting rubbish bags and the like.

The new service centre saved them the trip and was really welcomed by

locals though the temporary premises were like a furnace in summer, a

fridge in winter, cramped and not a pleasant place to work,” said Stephen

Phillips, who was the community manager.

6 7


Key Achievements 1989 – 1992

The first term of the Shirley-Papanui Community Board was an

exceptionally busy time.

Some of the projects that received discretionary funds were:

• Stiles for Paparoa Street School.

• Speed humps in Trafalgar Street (after a stolen car crashed

into three properties).

• A pedestrian refuge on Harewood Road.

Identifying Priorities

In 1989, when the Board initially sat down and looked at all of the areas it

represented, one of the rural areas of the Shirley-Papanui ward stood out

for lacking basic council services.

When the Council decided in a draft budget to defer the area’s water

works for two years, the community reacted angrily.

“We had locals take half gallon jars of Brooklands water into Council

meetings and offer it to the Councillors to drink. It was an awful colour,

and not one politician took them up on the offer,” said Yvonne Palmer.

Mike Richardson, who was the Council’s chief executive, remembers

that meeting.

“It really made some of the politicians quite embarrassed. They felt guilty

that these people had such poor amenities. There was this atmosphere

of ‘for heaven’s sake, give them what they want so they’ll go away’ around

the Council table.”

New Zealand’s First Dog Haven

“Not everyone was in favour of the idea, but with some careful

manoeuvring, we managed to get the Parks and Recreation Committee

to agree to a three month trial.” The original park saw an area fenced

off and basic agility exercise platforms erected. The facility was opened

to the public in 1991.

“More than 20 years later, the dog park’s still there. It was so popular

the trial simply never ended. In fact, the park’s 15 times bigger now than

the original area, and is entrenched as one of the city’s most popular

recreation assets,” said Yvonne Palmer.

Remarkably, the area of Kainga and Brooklands, just over 15 kilometres

north of Christchurch, lacked even a basic wastewater or sewerage

system. The townships still had long-drops or outdoor toilets. These were

serviced by night carts, which emptied and disposed of the wastes.

Even worse, there was no mains water system, and some serious road

issues needed to be addressed.

The stunt had the desired effect and the issue was once again a priority

for the budget.

The original dog park at The Groynes.

One of the Community Board’s first ever projects was born from listening

to a community objection.

The Board, with Councillor Des King leading the charge, brought the issue

to the attention of the Council’s Finance Committee Chair Derek Anderson.

He told the Board they needed to establish a six-year plan for the area.

Yvonne Palmer said the issue easily attracted support.

In 1990, there was a Council proposal to ban dogs from one of

Christchurch’s biggest parks, The Groynes. The community was not happy

about this. Dog owners complained that the city’s population pressures

and metropolitan sprawl meant there were few places they could exercise

their animals and the proposal would see one of the most popular areas

deemed out of bounds.

“People were quite surprised when their attention was drawn to

the issue. After all, it was 1989… the idea of night carts so close

to one of New Zealand’s largest cities seemed unfathomable.”

Their cause was taken up by Yvonne Palmer, who realised there was

a real need for a ‘dog space’ in the city, particularly given the shrinking

size of back yards.

Despite strong support, getting the improvements was not a smooth road

for advocates.

“Believe it or not one the biggest obstacles we had to overcome was

the community itself. When we first went to them and said ‘Right, we

have money…what do you want to fix?’ there was a reaction of suspicion.

Their area had been neglected for years and they couldn’t believe

we genuinely were going to help improve their facilities,” recalls

Sally Thompson.

The idea for a dedicated dog park was born, and The Groynes – despite

being mooted as a dog-free zone - seemed the ideal spot to place it.

With the support of her community board colleagues and staff (who had

found a study proving that Christchurch had the most dogs per capita of

any main centre in New Zealand), Yvonne lobbied the Council to make

the park a reality.

8 9


1992 – 1995

The Board

Dennis Hills, Cr Newton Dodge, David Jones, Cr Des King, Yvonne Palmer

Barbara Ford (Community Manager), Hazel Ashton, Sally Thompson (Chairperson)

Barbara Warren, Barbara Lindsay (Committee Secretary)

Insets: Cr Gordon Freeman, Cr Garry Moore

The Election

The 1992 campaign was a heated one with many residents outraged

at a Council proposal to expand the Northern Arterial route through the

suburb of St Albans. The proposal would have seen a major road split

the suburb from Madras Street, up Cranford. Labour candidate for

the Shirley council seat Garry Moore recognised and supported the

opposition to this. His pledge to stop the project saw him top the polls

on election day (10 October 1992).

Sally Thompson, who was elected Chairperson of the Board after the

election, remembers the heat of the northern arterial issue. “We were

really quite proud when we stopped the project post-election.”

The election saw incumbent Citizens’ Action councillor Dennis Rich deseated.

He admits it was the arterial issue that ended his political career.

“The Council had purchased the property necessary for the project, but he

[Garry Moore] convinced residents that it wasn’t a good idea. That’s what

they did, to the detriment of the city,” he said.

It was, however, a close finish for Dennis Rich. The final poll on election

day placed him on 2,734 votes – just one vote ahead of his Citizens’

Action colleague Newton Dodge. The special votes swung the final count

in Dodge’s favour.

Overall, the election resulted in significant change to the Board with five

new members. One of those new to the board was Dennis Hills, a local

scientist whose ability to process and analyse detailed information grew

to be appreciated by his colleagues.

The election of Sally Thompson to chair was seen as a step forward.

“Until then every community board in the city had been chaired by

a Councillor and, while I didn’t think much about it at the time, with

hindsight I can say the fact I was elected to the role really empowered

the other board members,” said Sally Thompson.

An Overview Of The Term

This term was a lot busier than the 1989 – 1992 term. The board had

gained confidence and that was reflected in its momentum.

“The politicians were starting to get the hang of it and the community

was too. People were starting to realise there was a board they could

approach to discuss local issues,” said Sally Thompson.

Changes to the electoral legislation in 1990 meant that from this term,

only three of the four city councillors in the ward were allowed to sit on

the board. The intention was to ensure that councillors could not make

up a majority on it.

With the entire council voting on which three councillors would get the

board seats, Councillor Garry Moore said the new rules soon became

a political point scoring exercise.

“My punishment for winning the election was that I was the councillor

not allowed on the Board. I used to go to community board meetings and

sit and comment from the back seats. After six months, Gordon Freeman

recognised my enthusiasm and relinquished his seat to me.”

Sally Thompson well remembers Councillor Moore’s backseat attendance

at board meetings.

“He’d come and would sit there. Everyone always knew he was there,

he had such a presence, and his body language certainly meant we knew

what he was thinking about whatever issue was being discussed.”

“Local body politics at that stage was heavily political with an

almost equal split between representatives backed by the Citizens’

Action team and those with Labour tickets. We even had caucus

meetings before every community board and council meeting to

discuss voting and other tactics.”

Garry Moore, former Mayor of Christchurch

10 11


Key Achievements 1992 – 1995

A Library And Service Centre “Befitting Papanui’s Image” (Mayor)

including the rugby clubrooms on Westminster Street and the boardroom

at Foodstuffs. It also made it easier for people to come along and

speak to the board and we did notice a slight increase in the number

of deputations to meetings,” said Barbara Ford, who was community

manager at the time.

A bequest from local businessman Leonard Rathgen aided the

development of the building. He left $47,000 in the Len and Peggie

Rathgen Memorial Trust when he died in 1980, stipulating this money

was to be used for the building of a library in the Papanui area.

Queen Elizabeth II Drive – The Opening Of An Iconic Road

This term also saw the opening of what is still one of Christchurch’s

most well-used roads - Queen Elizabeth II Drive, from Main North to

Marshland Roads.

The opening was a major affair with speeches held outside St Bede’s

College and then a convoy of cars testing the road for the first time.

“The community really was excited – it was a huge thing. People knew

we were going to be able to move around the city much more easily,”

remembers Sally Thompson.

Working With Schools

When then Northcote School Principal Graeme Barber approached the

Community Board in 1994 for funding for a new playground, the Board

came up with an innovative solution – they would grant funding provided

the whole community could have access to the space.

This was the beginning of a move towards “boundary-less” schools –

the idea that schools were a community asset that should be open to

the public once classes were over. The idea was popular not only with

the Council, as it meant greater recreational space for its constituents,

but with the schools themselves.

Saturday the 11th of February 1995 was a pretty big day for an 8-yearold

Papanui boy. Edward Brown was given the job of cutting the ribbon

alongside Christchurch Mayor Vicki Buck at the opening of the new

Papanui Library and Service Centre.

Sited on the corner of Langdons Road and Restell Street, the new facility

had been years in the planning. Council staff had been searching for a

site for a new library since the 1980s. A site had been found in the 1970s

but the Council had deemed the project too expensive at that time, and

the Papanui Library had remained in temporary premises.

The new library and service centre was an impressive development.

Designed by architects Willis and Associates, it was the first combined

service centre and library in Christchurch, and scores of locals attended

its opening. The library’s floor area was three times that of the old

premises and opened with a collection of 40,000 books.

The opening was a big celebration. Mayor Vicki Buck took a prominent

role but gave schoolboy Edward Brown the honour of cutting the ribbon.

The city’s Town Crier, resplendent in a red and black outfit, rang a school

bell to start proceedings and introduced all the speakers.

Chair of the board Sally Thompson lauded the arrival of the library,

likening the search for a site to a cuckoo looking for a nest. “This day

has been a long time coming,” she said.

Sally Thompson now remembers the centre quickly becoming

a popular destination.

“It gave us a home and gave people somewhere they could go to access

council services. The staff at that centre were incredible – they had an

awesome knowledge of the community, its geography and identities.”

“There was some confusion from the public over some politicians’

support for the road. People couldn’t understand why we were so in

favour of this project when we had fought the northern arterial. But this

was different – it was built on farmland, no one lost their home and no

suburb was split in two,” said Sally Thompson.

“I remember it became a well-used road almost immediately. The next

morning it was flooded with cars and I remember thinking “Wow – there

was clearly a need for that road,” said Yvonne Palmer, board member.

“The goal was a seamless connection between the school and the

community, and from our point of view it was win-win,” said Barber.

“The school would get natural surveillance, and the community would

get the use of facilities.”

It was also the start of a long and mutually beneficial relationship

between the Board, Northcote School, and the wider community, which

saw an access way being funded by the Board so the public could get to

Redwood Park from Tuckers Road without tramping on the ‘sometimes

muddy’ school fields.

Soon, other school principals were following the lead – coming to

meetings and sharing problems and developing solutions together. This

resulted in many community projects, including a new cycle way into

Shirley Intermediate.

“The community development approach of the Board was really good,”

said Barber. “There was an emphasis on looking at family and community

well-being as opposed to just building things.”

Work between the Community Board and St Albans and Paparoa Street

Schools also saw them leave their gates open and that had an excellent

side effect - a drop in vandalism.

“Both the service centre and the library had been in temporary premises

for years and this finally gave them a permanent home. It was a real

boost for the Board too. The fact they had their own boardroom to meet

in gave them a real focus. Until then they’d met in all sorts of spaces –

12 13


Packe Street Park

1995 – 1998

The Board

Two new board members Anne Carroll and Stephen Wright were also

elected along with a new Papanui ward Councillor Graham Condon, who

also won a community board seat. His election was major news with a

large headline “Disabled athlete wins seat” in The Press newspaper.

It was his first attempt at standing for council.

Judith Bruce was also re-elected which saw some experience return

to the board.

It was also the beginning of what was to become a very long and stable

leadership with Yvonne Palmer elected to the chair.

With the area around Packe Street in St Albans identified as lacking parks,

the sale of two houses on the street in 1995 seemed an opportunity for

some on the Community Board.

“We felt they were ideally sited for a park, the problem was the Cits [those

endorsed by the Citizens’ Action group] were dead against our proposal to

purchase the properties,” said Garry Moore.

Some political manoeuvring was required, and Moore approached

Citizens’ Councillor Gordon Freeman.

“I managed to get him to vote with us [the Labour-backed Councillors]

which was pretty revolutionary at the time,” said Garry Moore.

The result? The properties were purchased and a park featuring play

equipment and a community garden was established. Fifteen years later,

this is still maintained by a core group of local residents and attracts

people from across Christchurch, many of whom come to pick the unusual

herbs that are grown in the garden.

The reserve is quite different from other parks in the city. Its garden

means it has become a source of practical education on topics such

as sustainable land use, composting, organic systems and other

garden techniques.

Yvonne Palmer (Chair), Cr Garry Moore, Cr Newton Dodge, Anne Carroll, Judith Bruce

Cr Graham Condon, Cr Gordon Freeman, Stephen Wright, Sue Wells

The Election

The election on 14 October 1995 saw significant change for the board.

The campaign was dominated by a council proposal to widen Main

North Road to four lanes from Cranford Street to Papanui Road. The plan

was met with huge opposition from some in the community who were

concerned it would see heritage homes demolished.

Labour candidates Sally Thompson (for council) and Dennis Hills (for the

community board) lost their seats. A change, that some say reflected the

swing to National, in that year’s central government elections.

Sally Thompson was gutted by the result.

“It was horrible having put myself out there and having lost after working

so hard for the board. It was a tough campaign though. I was up against

Sue Wells who had a high profile from her media work. She didn’t even

live in the area at the time but won anyhow.”

Citywide the 1995 election saw a definite change in voter patterns.

Papanui independent Gordon Freeman was reported in The Press

on 16 October 1995 as saying “It was a clear swing away from the

Citizens’ toward the independents and the 2021 independents…

this is probably the way to the future where personalities are more

important than party ties.”

14 15


Key Achievements 1995 – 1998

Champion Street Reserve

“This was a great example of a real trend at that stage of using

environmental design to prevent crime. We also trimmed trees and

made some minor adjustments to the gardens at Jellie Park which saw

reported crime there drop from 40 incidents a month to just one.”

Yvonne Palmer,

Shirley-Papanui Community Board member 1989-2010

Creating A Safer Community

The group began with 28 volunteers who, in pairs, would patrol the

streets of Shirley- Papanui in their own vehicles. Less than a year later

they were given a car through AMI Insurance. A regular recipient of

Community Board grants, the organisation has grown steadily. Now, in

2010, Crimewatch Christchurch has ten vehicles in its fleet, between 50

and 80 volunteers at any time and patrols more than a third of the city

(including the beaches of Brighton and Sumner) every day.

Volunteers have a close relationship with police and President John Burke

said each car is fitted with a police radio as well as a Crimewatch radio.

Neighbourhood Week - Building A Stronger Community (One

Sausage Sizzle At A Time).

In 1997, the board had a workshop hosted by then Children’s Advocate

Lyn Campbell, and turned its mind to community development.

Board member Sue Wells began reflecting on the issues she had heard

during her time on the Board. “There were lots of concerns about the

usual rates, roads and rubbish but others were much harder to fix. They

were things that weren’t core business for council, but nevertheless really

affected how people felt about living in their neighbourhoods.”

“We are successful. Since we started patrols around AMI Stadium during

events, thefts from vehicles have dropped from 13 to 15 instances per

event to none. Since we started patrols along the Waimakariri River and

locking gates to the area daily, the number of stolen cars dumped there

has dropped from between 600 and 700 per year to just 20.”

“People had raised everything from neighbours who were unsupported

psychiatric patients to truancy, sniffing glue, tagging, parents struggling

to cope and moving from house to house to escape the debt collector,

roaming dogs, and high fences which encouraged burglars. There were

people, often elderly and alone so scared of being burgled or robbed that

they wouldn’t sleep at night,” said Sue Wells.

A small St Albans reserve had been of concern to the community for some

time. The Champion Street Reserve was sited on two back sections,

meaning it was hard to access.

“It was also a place that attracted undesirables and was the scene

of minor crime and vandalism,” said Yvonne Palmer.

The organisation is used often by police and has distributed more

than 100,000 pamphlets to houses asking for information on burglaries.

It’s also used by the Community Board to assist at events, including the

annual Children’s Day event at The Groynes.

“The Shirley-Papanui Community Board is the best in Christchurch.

They take a real and active interest in community groups like ours…

as well as providing financial support.”

John Burke, President, Crimewatch Christchurch

“It was frustrating. I knew it wasn’t the Council’s job to deal with

loneliness, isolation, despair or fear, but I couldn’t just leave the issues

in the too-hard basket.”

“I had a feeling that part of the answer sat with encouraging people to

take a real and active interest in the people and places around them.

That is, in creating close-knit, caring neighbourhoods. It is my belief that

the neighbourhood is the cornerstone of a safe community, and a concept

we need to foster.”

Some creative thinking from the Community Board saw an approach

made by council staff to the owner of the two street front sections in

front of the reserve.

“We offered to swap the reserve land for his sections,” said Yvonne

Palmer. “It seemed a logical solution to us but not everyone was happy.

Some residents whose homes boarded the existing reserve did not want

to see it moved.”

The issue went as far as a Planning Commissioner’s hearing…that

decision sided with the Community Board proposal and the land

swap went ahead.

The president of Crimewatch Christchurch, John Burke (left) with founding president Brian

Palmer, pictured with one of the organisation’s ten vehicles.

October 1994 saw the birth of what was to become one of the most

successful organisations in Shirley-Papanui, with local Brian Palmer

organising a public meeting to start a Crimewatch group.

“I’d felt the need for this for a number of years. There were some people

who simply didn’t feel safe in our community, particularly some elderly

locals who were afraid to leave their homes – even in daylight. I simply

thought ‘that’s not the way we live in New Zealand’ and had to do

something about it,” said Brian Palmer.

Sue sat down and wrote a development plan called “Encouraging Better

Neighbourhoods”. It recommended the Board:

1. Get an update from community constables on the status (active or not)

of all Neighbourhood Watch groups in its area. And that those groups

found to be inactive, be encouraged to restart and that areas where no

group exists be targeted to encourage a group to form.

2. Sponsor a ‘Neighbour Week”, where we encourage citizens to knock

on doors of houses around them and introduce themselves.

3. Make available resources to neighbourhoods wishing to

hold localised events, and promote local facilities ideal for

a small-scale party.

4. Encourage the development of neighbourhood associations utilising

Neighbourhood Watch as a starting point.

16 17


She circulated the plan informally to members after the Community

Board’s October 1997 meeting, thinking she would be laughed out

of the room.

“I was a relatively new board member, and was still finding my feet.

I wasn’t even sure it was appropriate for board members to be putting

papers like that up for discussion. But the board’s reaction was brilliant.”

The Board formally adopted Sue’s idea as a project of its own.

“Without any great fanfare and with a total lack of consultation we

launched Neighbourhood Week in March 1998 - and it was so well

received in our local community that over the next few years we

persuaded all the boards in the city to pick it up too.”

The Board’s efforts in contacting and updating Neighbourhood Support

Groups also saw 1,400 new groups established across the city that year.

For years, Sue chaired the joint Boards’ committee, until Neighbourhood

Week was eventually formalised as a piece of ongoing council work

through the Long Term Council Community Plan.

The week has proved to be a phenomenal success and is now a

national event, held in October each year. Thousands of people

participate each year with just a portion of them getting grants from

their local community boards.

“That’s one of the most rewarding things about the week,

an enormous number of people plan events in their local

neighbourhoods off their own bat – garage sales, pot luck dinners,

planting days…it’s a great time and an enormous return on each

Community Board’s investment. There is no doubt, it’s been a

catalyst for ensuring streets become safer, and neighbourhoods

become friendlier places in which to live.”

Sue Wells,

Shirley-Papanui Community Board 1995-1998

1998 – 2001

The Board

Cr Sally Thompson, Cr Robin Booth, Dennis Hills, Cr Morgan Fahey, Anne Carroll

Cr Graham Condon, Yvonne Palmer (Chairperson), Stephen Wright, Myra Barry

The Election

In the 1998 council elections, Garry Moore won the mayoralty after Vicki

Buck stood down. This saw him leave his Council and Community Board

posts with Robin Booth replacing him.

Newton Dodge lost his seat with Doctor Morgan Fahey, the city’s deputy

Mayor standing in the Shirley ward for the first time and winning the post

(he had previously represented Spreydon).

An Overview Of The Term

Yvonne Palmer continued to lead the Community Board through a period

when Shirley ward Councillor Morgan Fahey was unable to fulfil his duties.

She said that meant those board members elected to the Papanui ward

had to bridge the gap in Shirley, resulting in a new trend.

“Until then, each councillor and board member had always been closely

affiliated to the ward they were elected to. To the point, that if a Papanui

representative turned up at a function in Shirley, you’d be looked at a

little oddly. It was almost patch protection. This situation changed that

and saw representatives widening their interest.”

This term also saw some real focus on streamlining the way the Board

ran its meetings. The subcommittees were ditched in favour of twicemonthly

board meetings. That enabled a much greater number of issues

to be dealt with at board level, eliminated the need for double handling

of issues and improved communication among members.

It also saw a major push by council staff to give community boards more

power with the introduction of SCAP (Strengthening Communities Action

Plan) funding which enabled boards to holistically look at their areas,

identify key gaps in services and community outcomes.

“This was the biggest single step in terms of giving boards some

power to be creative and focus on things other than core services. For

the first time, they were funded to step back and look at their social

and economic communities and come back to the Council with some

recommendations,” said Mike Richardson, then chief executive of the

Christchurch City Council.

The By-Election

Morgan Fahey resigned as a city councillor on 15 December 1999.

A by-election was held in March 2000 via postal ballot. The votes were

counted on 18 March 2000. Ingrid Stonhill, who was the President of

Forfar Preschool and stood on a Labour party ticket with support from

then Mayor Garry Moore, won the seat.

18 19


Key Achievements 1998 – 2001

Children’s Day

Planning A River’s Future

Children’s Day 2010 at The Groynes

The year 2000 was the International Year of the Child, so it was fitting

that this saw the Shirley-Papanui Community Board launch its Children’s

Day celebrations.

Eight thousand dollars was put aside from the board’s project fund for

an event that would encourage families to spend time together and

would give children the opportunity to take part in activities that were not

usually available to them.

Plans were made to hold the inaugural Children’s Day at The Groynes.

It attracted more than 2,500 people (children of all ages), with a huge

number of activities, including boat rides, kayaking, lolly scrambles,

face painting, puppet shows, singing, storytelling, flax weaving and

a magic show. There was also a free barbecue, free drinks, and childfocused

stalls.

A number of partnerships between the Community Board and local groups

and businesses meant the initial outlay of money went even further.

The Council’s Children’s Advocate at the time, Lyn Campbell said the day

set the tone for other groups to follow.

“They really captured the vision of what Children’s Day was supposed

to be about. It was a day that celebrated children and families and

was among the most popular Children’s Day events in the country.”

Other feedback was equally positive, and the event has been held

annually since, has won awards and is still considered to be one of

the best Children’s Day events in the country.

The Mall The Community Built

When Northlands Mall owners Kiwi Income Property Trust decided to

double the size of the centre in 1998, they took an unusual approach.

“Rather than going ahead on their own, they contacted the board…told

us their plans and said they wanted to grow the site with the community

on their side. Their openness was quite unusual…developers at that

time, usually went ahead and did their thing and community boards

would normally have a plethora of issues to deal with afterwards,”

said Yvonne Palmer.

The initial problem the developer faced was purchasing land to create a

second access road to the mall. The only suitable land was Papanui High

School property. While the Shirley-Papanui Community Board was also

in favour of a new road (they felt it would aid traffic flow), they needed to

convince a reluctant Papanui High School Board of Trustees.

A “land swap” agreement was eventually reached and the school’s

buildings were relocated so the road could go ahead. “It was not an

easy project,” said Board of Trustees chairperson Grant Major, “ though

working with the Board was fine – there was a good relationship there.”

The success cemented the Board’s place as an integral part of

planning the mall extension, despite it being done by a private

developer on private land. The relationship saw the Board consulted

on everything from facilities within the new mall to car parking and

landscaping. This enabled them to ensure decisions were made in

the best interests of the community.

The Papanui Service Centre was used as neutral venue for

development meetings. These saw the board advocate successfully

for the:

• Construction of pedestrian islands on all roads surrounding the

Papanui Library.

• Installation of flow-regulated traffic lights at the request of residents.

• Provision of 1800 carparks within the mall, and for parking restrictions

to be enforced on the street outside.

• Access for the visually impaired.

• Conversion of a boxed drain to a waterway, which brought wildlife

back to the area.

• Use of houses scheduled for demolition as youth facilities

in the interim.

• Developer, Kiwi Income, to purchase the property of a pair

of pensioners who were bothered by delivery vehicles, allowing

them to relocate elsewhere.

• Establishment of 16 pedestrian access points around the mall.

• Surplus road carpeting to be used to make a public basketball court.

The partnership was a huge success, so much so that the strong

relationship between the Board and Kiwi Income is being used as a

blueprint in the development of the Graham Condon Recreation and

Sport Centre in the same area.

Prior to the turn of the millennium, little was known about the Styx River

and its associated catchment, except that they were withering. Wildlife

numbers were in decline, the landscape was under increasing pressure

due to rapid urbanisation, and the river’s water quality was suffering.

Recognising that a major asset was under threat, the Christchurch City

Council’s Water Services Unit developed an Asset Management Strategy

that divided the city into 14 distinct regions, two of which made up the

Styx River and associated catchment. It was these areas that the Shirley-

Papanui Community Board began crafting a plan for in 1999.

Recognising that the first thing to do was to consult the local community,

the Board held an event - the Styx River Happening - in March 1998. The

Happening was a day of guest speakers, entertainment and fundraising

that featured information booths and even helicopter tours of the river.

In a way that epitomised the thorough manner in which the Board

communicated with all stakeholders in the area, suggestions for the

future of the river were sought, questionnaires filled out, and invitations

to be part of the ongoing consultation process extended to each of the

4,000 people who came out that day.

20 21


2001 – 2004

From this day on, the Shirley-Papanui Community Board supported the

Styx Project by:

• Organising bus tours so the public could gain an overall view

of the Styx.

• Holding ideas workshops so community suggestions could be heard.

• Publishing a regular newsletter to keep the community up-to-date.

• Making recommendations to the Council regarding land purchases

and restoration projects.

• Advocating for wider walking tracks so wheelchairs could be taken

alongside the river.

• Providing letters of support for funding applications and other grants

to do with the Styx.

• Encouraging community participation in planting days and volunteer

groups such as the Guardians of the Styx.

• Liaising with community groups, and clearing up any misinformation

or misunderstandings about the area.

• Contributing money to the project.

• Adopting the suggestion of making the Styx a ‘sister river’ of the Styx

River in Alabama, USA, so information and ideas could be exchanged,

and recommending this to the Council.

By 2000, a draft was prepared by council staff member Christine

Heremaia. This was now a forward-looking document on how the

Styx should be managed for decades to come, and was presented to the

Council in draft form. Throughout the production of this report, the Board

had been the intermediary that gave the Styx populace access to key

politicians from Environment Canterbury and the City Council as well

as seven residents’ associations.

In 2001, “Vision 2000 – 2040 The Styx” was completed. It emphasised

adaptive management of the area, allowing the project to evolve as more

was understood about the Styx ecosystem and the community’s needs.

The vision was considered such a success that the Community Board’s

efforts were recognised in 2003, when it won a Best Practice Award in the

category of Best Significant Project at the Community Board Conference

for its work on the Styx.

Also as a result of the project there has been a drastic increase in

awareness of the Styx, a better understanding of the area due to research

undertaken, better communication between the Council

and the community, and improved reporting by council staff to the

Community Board.

“Without the Board’s involvement... the Styx Project would not have

been the success that it has been,” said John Knox, of volunteer group

Guardians of the Styx.

The Board

Sharon Ogden (Secretary), Robin Booth, Cr Megan Evans, Cr Norm Withers, Anne Carroll,

Stephen Wright, Barbara Ford (Community Advocate)

Myra Barry, Dennis Hills, Yvonne Palmer (Chairperson),

Cr Graham Condon, Cr Ingrid Stonhill

The Election

The 2001 election saw significant change to the make-up of the Board,

with two of the four councillor positions filled by candidates new to the

Board…community constable Megan Evans was elected to the Shirley

ward and justice campaigner Norm Withers elected to Papanui.

Robin Booth, who lost his council seat to Evans, had initially put himself

forward for the mayoralty (he withdrew his nomination two weeks into the

campaign). He retained a seat on the Community Board and obtained one

on the first elected Canterbury District Health Board.

An Overview Of The Term

This term saw the board focus on developing and strengthening

partnerships with its community. It worked hard in advocating the

allocation of nearly half a million dollars from the City Council’s budget

to strengthen the Shirley Community Centre, worked alongside Rehua

Marae to estabish a unique Heritage Awards programme and worked

alongside schools in the area to meet their needs. Of particular note was

the Board’s partnership with Shirley Primary School, which saw an OSCAR

programme established there.

2002 saw a significant acknowledgement of the board’s innovation

with the national rollout of Neighbourhood Week. This programme was

developed by the board in 1998.

The spotlight also went on Papanui this term with the commissioning

of a major needs analysis for the suburb.

On a national level, 2002 saw a comprehensive rewrite of the Local

Government Act which had a profound affect on how councils operated.

For the first time they were given ‘general competence’ – a legal status

that enabled them to undertake a far greater range of projects as long

as they met certain consultation requirements.

“This didn’t have much of an impact on Community Boards and I

think the rewrite was probably disappointing from their perspective…

particularly given it didn’t enshrine any basic powers for them,” said Mike

Richardson, chief executive of the Christchurch City Council 1993-2003.

A Change To The Rules

This term also saw the rule allowing someone to be elected to both a

Community Board and the City Council disestablished. In those instances

where someone was elected to both authorities, the new rule saw them

take the Council seat with the Community Board post going to the next

highest polling candidate.

22 23


Key Achievements 2001 - 2004

Acknowledging The Community’s Heritage

In 2000, the Shirley-Papanui Community Board decided it needed to do

more to raise awareness and encourage the protection and enhancement

of its communities’ heritage.

It was decided that to do this effectively, the Board needed to work

alongside Rehua Marae. Over 18 months and with a budget of $5,000

the partners established a unique programme, “The Shirley-Papanui

Board Heritage Awards”.

The awards are run annually with entrants invited to submit details of

projects that have enhanced and preserved heritage in the Board’s area.

A panel that includes representatives of the Community Board and Rehua

Marae as well as heritage experts judges these.

The partnership has ensured these awards have embraced the

rich heritage of the area and had a wealthy resource of networks

and knowledge.

Since the inaugural event in 2002 the annual awards have seen dozens

of projects acknowledged. Awards have gone to an enormous array of

recipients, from private individuals who have preserved historic homes

to school children and community groups.

The project has also attracted an award itself with the Board receiving a

Best Practice Award at the national Community Board Conference in 2005.

Amy Peer (now deceased) received a Merit Certificate in 2002 in the ‘Education and Awareness’

category for her work at the Belfast District Museum. In that same year, she also received a

Recognition Certificate in the ‘Good Caretaker’ category for her work on 22 Lagan Street.

She said the awards were a marvellous idea and she was very proud of hers after spending

five years collating and cataloguing items in the museum. She is pictured here with Murray

Binnie who received a Heritage Award in the ‘Education and Awareness’ category for his work

on Te Roopu Poutama.

An Eye On Papanui

At its meeting of 1 October 2003, the board allocated funds to undertake

a Community Needs Analysis of the Papanui area.

The resulting 80-page document provides a wealth of information on the

suburb – from detailing demographic information of the population to

forecasting future trends and identifying social, community and cultural

needs in the area.

The research looks at how the suburb changed from being a suburban

centre and gateway to Christchurch to being a ‘metropolitan destination’

with the development of Northlands Mall.

Board chair Yvonne Palmer said the needs analysis was a solid

investment in the suburb’s future.

Community needs analyses like this one really detail the concerns of

locals and come up with a large range of practical recommendations that

boards can undertake to improve the liveability of a suburb. You get a

massive return on such investments. What’s more, it was this document

that gave us the evidence to advocate for both the Papanui Youth Facility

and the Graham Condon Recreation and Sport Centre.”

The Papanui Community Needs Analysis report included the following

recommendations to the Board:

• Fully support the fundraising efforts for the establishment of the

Papanui Youth Facility.

• Develop an indoor community facility.

• Plan for a future indoor swimming pool.

• Investigate the viability of a bus route to QEII park.

• Install equipment (including basketball half courts and skate

ramps) for older children in future parks.

• Enforce dog control laws at parks in the area.

• Look at the needs of older people in developing future walkways

and seating areas.

• Develop one major cultural event at Papanui Domain.

• Continue to support Neighbourhood Week and the

inter-agency network.

• Back any effort to set up a Papanui business association.

• Consider providing an ESOL-trained person at the Shirley-Papanui

Service Centre.

• Develop a safe pedestrian crossing on Harewood Road, near

Chapel Street.

• Work with police to improve the safety of crossings outside the

suburb’s schools.

• Prioritise the enhancement of footpath and kerbing.

• Note the concerns regarding traffic congestion and residents’

suggestions for solutions.

• Approach Northlands Mall to develop a disabled park suitable for

high-roofed vehicles.

• Approach New Zealand Post to put in two additional post boxes,

one near the library.

• Alert taxi companies to the demand for a taxi free phone at the

east end of Northlands Mall.

• Promote and encourage the restoration of the older buildings on

Main North Road and the frontage to St Pauls cemetery.

• Consider enhancing the visual impact of Cranford Street and Main

North Road as gateways to the city.

• Address graffiti vandalism in the area.

24 25


2004 – 2007

The Board

Prebashni Naidoo (Community Secretary), Megan Evans, Bill Bush, Yvonne Palmer, Cr Norm

Withers, Myra Barry, Ngaire Button, Elsie Ellison (Community Board Principal Adviser), Cr

Graham Condon

Graham Condon died on 8 September 2007.

The Election

This campaign was closely fought with the downsizing of the Christchurch

City Council from 24 seats to 12. While there was little change to the ward

boundaries, the city’s wards were amalgamated so that the former Shirley

and Papanui wards became a new Shirley-Papanui ward. The size of each

community board was also decreased. Each of the city’s metropolitan

boards now had two (formerly four) Councillors and five (formerly six)

elected board members.

Interestingly, while that restructuring election saw the stakes increase for

those standing, voter turnout in Christchurch plunged to a low 37.73% -

well down on the 48% the previous election attracted.

Then Mayor Garry Moore, who lived in the ward, said the local campaign

was non-eventful. He thinks the main reason for the low turnout was that

residents were quite happy with the direction the council was going in.

“People will get out and vote against an issue or if they want to change

something. They were happy. I wasn’t surprised that the restructuring

didn’t result in a high voter turnout…the public at large always support

anything that reduces the number of politicians.”

An Overview Of The Term

A number of key projects were undertaken by this board, including the

opening of the Papanui Youth Facility, a community plan for Belfast and

consultation around the Northwood development. In September 2007,

the board approved the development of a new indoor recreation centre

and pool for Papanui. That year also saw the first increase in the Board’s

discretionary fund in 17 years, from $50,000 to $60,000 per year.

The term ended with a major blow to the Board and community –

the sudden death of member and Councillor Graham Condon, who was

killed after he was hit by a car while riding his hand-propelled cycle on

Saturday, 8 September 2007.

Then Chair Yvonne Palmer remembers the time with mixed emotion.

“We were all devastated but amazed at the support which came our way

from the council and community. He was a wonderful, community-minded

man and everyone was keen to honour him.”

Graham Condon, JP QSM

A former world record holder, Graham Condon was the only New

Zealander to take part in six consecutive Paralympics, competing in

swimming and athletics events. He won seven medals, including gold

in the discus at the 1972 and 1980 Paralympics.

Rendered a paraplegic after contracting polio, Graham was also a

founding member of Parafed Canterbury (an organisation that strives

to boost sport and recreation achievement among the disabled), a board

member for SPARC (the national sports agency), and a Christchurch City

Councillor from 1995 until his death in 2007.

A husband to Kathy and father to Craig and Andrea, Graham Condon

was killed just weeks before the October 2007 local body elections

(in which he was seeking re-election to his Shirley-Papanui council seat).

His funeral, at the Cathedral of Blessed Sacrament, attracted hundreds

of mourners.

Shortly after Councillor Condon’s death, then Christchurch Mayor Garry

Moore announced the new centre to be built in Papanui would be named

the Graham Condon Recreation and Sport Centre to honor his memory

and work.

“Graham’s sporting and community achievements were phenomenal

but what I liked the most about him was what he did on a one-on-one

level. After a conversation with Graham, you felt as if you could take

on the world. He was great fun and always had a colourful story or

joke to share.”

Brian Ashby, sports journalist, Newstalk ZB

26 27


Key Achievements 2004 - 2007

Te Koru Pou Iho – Growing Youth In Papanui

A number of community working bees followed and the business

community came on board with donations of building materials

and services.

Rewarding Responsibility In Hospitality

Building on a programme established by the Burwood Pegasus

Community Board, the Shirley-Papanui Community Board launched

its ‘Host Responsibility Awards’ in 2005.

Papanui High School students Daniel Chu and Chantal Tumahai cut the ribbon with former

Christchurch Mayor Garry Moore at the opening of Te Koru with Ross Banbury, the first manager

of the youth centre watching.

April 2007 saw new ground broken in Papanui with the opening of the

Papanui Youth Centre or Te Koru.

Primarily a place for 11-18 year olds, the centre was developed after the

Youth Summit in 1998 identified the need for a youth facility.

It is ‘state of the art’, with a huge array of facilities including a fullyequipped

art room, computer room, Playstation 3 room with big screen

TVs, recording studio and control room and a video-editing suite. It also

has a team of professionals who work with the youth there including a

doctor, a sexual health worker, a budget advisor and youth workers.

“There’s nothing like this anywhere in the country,” original manager

Ross Banbury said at the time it opened.

The project was nine years in the making. It was led by Te Papanui

Trust, which operated out of Papanui Baptist Church with funding from

the City Council and Shirley-Papanui Community Board. After two years

of searching for a site, St Paul’s Anglican Church came forward with a

generous offer.

“They allowed us to build and own a building on their land. As far as we

know it’s the first time an Anglican Church has done that in New Zealand,”

said Ross Banbury.

Ross Banbury says the end result shows the power of dreams and

would never have been possible without the support of the Shirley-

Papanui Community Board

“The Community Board was one of our early innovators and the

$35,000 seed funding it provided ensured we could get off the ground

and attract other partners to making the vision a reality. They also

came to rescue with $27,000 to fund our kitchen when we ran into

budget problems later in the project. Their support and friendship

has been continuous which has been important.”

Ross Banbury, former manager, Te Koro Pou Iho

Junior Neighbourhood Support

2006 saw the Shirley-Papanui Community Board once again go

where no other board had gone before in supporting a pilot of Junior

Neighbourhood Support at Shirley Primary School.

The programme is delivered in conjunction with Canterbury

Neighbourhood Support and aims to “promote a sense of pride, safety

and community spirit in children and their wider school community.”

How? The programme’s co-ordinator visits schools and educates children

with skills on safety, emphasising community and neighbourhood values

and promoting an ‘It’s cool to care!’ message.

The children, teachers and parents are then invited to nominate any child

who shows the values by posting a nomination in a dedicated letterbox in

the school’s office. Four awards are given out twice a term and presented

to recipient children by the co-ordinator and a member of the emergency

services (when available), or a community support person.

The pilot proved a huge success and it’s now being rolled out to other

primary schools across Christchurch and New Zealand.

Junior Neighbourhood Support is very effective in terms of creating

a heightened sense of responsibility and in helping reduce the

likelihood of anti-social behaviour.

The awards are run in conjunction with the local Liquor Licensing

Authority and police. They see judges visit local hospitality

establishments and assess them on a range of criteria, including:

• Availability and affordability of food.

• Non-alcoholic drink range and availability.

• Whether duty manager named is, in fact, on duty.

• Accessibility for disabled patrons.

• Safety.

• Availability of phone and taxi numbers.

Gold Winner

2007

Host

Responsibility

Award

Presented by the

Shirley/Papanui Community Board

The Chairperson and members of the

Shirley/Papanui Community Board are pleased to

make this award on behalf of all residents to

SPEIGHTS ALE HOUSE

______________________________

Chairperson

Shirley/Papanui Community Board

______________________________

Date

“Winning the award had a

huge impact on our business.

It gave us the feedback that

we’re on the right track for

our customers, and the safety

and wellbeing of our patrons

is paramount. It encourages

us to constantly look at our

host responsibilities, and

to continually focus on that.

We have the award proudly

displayed at our front door

and have had a fantastic

reaction to it.”

Richard Norton, Bealey

Speights Ale House

The third extension to the Dog Park at The Groynes was opened on 31 March 2007 with

an agility display.

Tenacity Pays Off

One of the biggest challenges any community board faces is finding the

motivation and tenacity to stick with ideas that are difficult to make into

a reality.

“There are some ideas that come to the board and we can easily make

them happen. Others take tenacity – you’ve got to get other groups or the

Council on board, engage with the community and stick with them, even if

the initial answer’s ‘no’,” said Yvonne Palmer.

The Morrison Avenue Reserve is an example of a project that took a long

time to bear. In 1989, a group of residents from the avenue (which runs

between Sawyers Arms and Langdons Roads) approached the Board

concerned that a lack of playgrounds and parks in the area meant local

children were meeting and playing on the road.

28 29


“It wasn’t safe but there was little alternative for them. They either had

to go down to the domain, which didn’t have any play equipment in

those days, or across to St James Park which meant having to cross busy

Harewood Road,” said Yvonne Palmer.

Because land would have to be purchased to create a park in the area, the

Community Board needed to get funding from the Council. Competing for

a slice from the pool of council funding is never an easy task.

Board members worked for a long time trying to get it up the list of

priorities and find some appropriate land. In 2004, the Council got the

opportunity to buy numbers 26 and 28.”

That purchase went ahead and Morrison Avenue Reserve was developed.

It featured children’s play equipment, a basketball half-court, gas

barbeque and young specimen trees. At the same time some traffic

calming work was done so the avenue was safer.

The opening of the reserve was seen as the culmination of a great deal of

community effort over many years.

“I’m delighted we’ve finally got it done,” Yvonne Palmer said at the

opening. “The children in the area think it’s wonderful and it really is

a tribute to the perseverance of many people…board members, parents

and others in the community.”

2007 - 2010

The Board

Cr Ngaire Button, Aaron Keown, Peter Croucher (Community Board Adviser), Dr Matt Morris,

Yvonne Palmer (Chairperson from 17 March 2009), Cr Norm Withers, Megan Evans (Chairperson

from October 2007 until 31 October 2008), Pauline Cotter.

Kathy Condon was elected to

the Board on 17 March 2009 to

fill the vacancy created by the

resignation of Megan Evans.

The Election

The campaign for the 2007 election came

after a high profile fight against the closure

of Edgeware Pool in St Albans. The pool

was closed after a council review of all its

suburban pools, and while this wasn’t a

community board decision…it had an

effect on the results of the Community

Board elections.

“The decision to close the pool, and

more importantly, the way the Council

communicated that decision to the

community left some people feeling incredibly

ripped off. People really felt that they hadn’t

been listened to. While the community

realised it wasn’t the Community Board’s

doing, there were some who felt as though

the Board should have done more to support

them,” said Maggy Tai Rakena, co-Chair of the

St Albans’ Residents Association.

While the results didn’t see any particular members ousted, they did see

some candidates (notably Pauline Cotter) elected who had taken a front

row in the fight.

“I think the voters recognised the fact those candidates were listening to

the community’s loud voice,” adds Maggy Tai Rakena.

This term also saw Councillor Norm Withers elected unopposed to the

position of Deputy Mayor on 24 October 2007. A position he held for

one term before deciding to retire from politics altogether in 2010.

The By-Election

The ward’s second ever community board by-election was held in

March 2009 to fill the seat vacated by Megan Evans’ following her

resignation for family circumstances. The winner, Kathy Condon was

no stranger to local body politics. She was the widow of Graham Condon.

Mrs Condon attracted 6,860 votes out of 12,765 valid postal votes.

Voter turnout was 28.54%.

Cuts In Funding

This term also saw two cuts to the Board’s discretionary fund. On 23 July

2009, it was decreased from $60,000 to $56,496 per year. It was lowered

again to $51,197 on 1 July 2010.

Yvonne Palmer QSM JP

In 1988, Yvonne Palmer was busy. She owned a diary and food store in

Papanui, was a wife and mother of two and was running a Canterburywide

petition to stop Labour’s planned cuts to the police. She collected

36,000 signatures and, perhaps unknowingly, kicked off her political

career in the process.

“It was then that I was asked to join the Christchurch Action Team (with

Margaret Murray, Sir Gil Simpson and Bruce McFadden) and stand for the

Shirley-Papanui Community Board,” recalls Yvonne.

She did so, was elected and so began a 21-year career on the Community

Board (15 years of which she was its Chair)…a milestone few in the

country have reached.

30 31


Key Achievements 2007 - 2010

Yvonne’s interest in her community stems back to a very young age. She

was secretary of her youth club in Porirua at 13 and an active marching

girl. She later became a nationwide and international marching judge,

overseeing competitions involving hundreds of marchers. Such scrutiny,

she claims, was good training for her board role.

“You have to be prepared to be watched and have people question your

every move. You also have to be prepared to stand up and say to people

that you don’t agree with them. You can’t be everybody’s friend as a

judge, nor as a board member.”

Yvonne was elected to chair the Board in 1995. Two years later

she was appointed to the working party that established the

New Zealand Community Board Executive Committee, which

she chaired from 1999 - 2010.

Her’s is one of the longest community board careers in the country –

she has only missed two Community Board meetings in that time. Her

services to the community have seen her awarded a Queen’s Service

Medal and given a 20 Years’ Service Award from Local Government New

Zealand. She is also a Justice of the Peace and a marriage celebrant.

“She is a local champion,” according to Ross Banbury, the first

manager of Te Koru, Papanui’s Youth Centre; “The mother hen of

community boards in New Zealand,” according to former Mayor Garry

Moore; “An impassioned and forceful, but always nice advocate,”

according to former CCC chief executive Mike Richardson; and

“Absolutely passionate,” according to former Board colleague Sally

Thompson. And as former Community Manager Barbara Ford explains,

Yvonne is politically savvy. “You can’t be in politics for that long and be

that successful without having to survive and manage critics. She has

been totally dedicated to her job.”

Yvonne is adamant she would not have been able to be a board

representative so long nor so successfully were it not for the support

of her employers.

“Both Workbridge and Age Concern really let me combine my roles

with them with my community board work – I’ve been very lucky in

that respect.”

The highlights of her board career? Winning the Council’s support for

the Dog Park at The Groynes, seeing Te Koru (the Papanui Youth Centre)

built, establishing Children’s Day and the creation of the Graham Condon

Recreation and Sport Centre.

The lowlights? There are two. The first; the long and protracted battle in

getting the Champion Street Reserve opened. The second; the row over

the Edgeware Pool closure.

“That wasn’t a community board decision – it was a council one. And

though board members listened to the concerns of the community, some

of us didn’t agree with them and that meant we were subjected to some

quite unacceptable behaviour from a handful of the opponents… abuse

in public places, nasty phone calls and emails and the like. I found the

whole situation really sad… especially when I’d see children at heated

and emotional protests – I didn’t feel it was a place for them.”

One of the unusual things about Yvonne’s career is that she has never,

unlike most of those who spend time on Community Boards, had a desire

to stand for Council.

“I like the down to earth nature of community board work – getting

out and about and meeting people. I find council politics to be very

metropolitian – I prefer to focus on neighbourhoods.”

Yvonne Palmer’s top 5 wish list for Shirley-Papanui

1) Improvements to the Colombo Street and Edgeware

Road intersection.

2) Seeing The Neighbourhood Trust reach its goal of creating

a community centre for Mairehau.

3) Improving the facilities around Mairehau High School.

4) Creating a new community centre, with meeting rooms,

in Papanui.

5) A community facility and library for Belfast.

A New, Multi-Million Dollar Facility For Papanui

Different views of the Graham Condon Recreation and Sport Centre that

is due to be completed in 2010.

Concern over a lack of aquatic facilities in the northwest of Christchurch,

led to the development of the Graham Condon Recreation and Sport

Centre that is due for completion in 2010.

The $13-million complex will be owned and operated by the City Council

and will include:

• A new eight lane, ramped 25-metre swimming pool.

• A ramped spa pool.

• A ramped learners’ pool.

• A separate toddlers’ pool with wet deck and water toys.

• An indoor sports hall.

• A new fitness centre.

It will offer a range of services including group fitness classes, lane

swimming, learn to swim classes and other recreation programmes.

The complex is the result of a unique partnership between the Council,

Northlands Shopping Centre (owned by Kiwi Income Property Trust) and

the Ministry of Education that sees the Council leasing the Ministry-owned

land the complex will be built on. In return, Papanui High School (which

is adjacent to the site) will have pre-arranged access to the pool and

sports hall.

The unique and practical partnership is a win-win situation with the

school getting access to a world-class facility it would never have had

the funds to develop and the Council getting access to land that is

ideally located but previously unavailable.

Backing A Community

In 1984, the residents of a small street in St Albans, Courtenay

Street faced a massive problem - a proposal to widen their narrow

street so it could act as a collector road for a main arterial that was

to run north through St Albans and out of the city. The arterial proposal

was eventually scrapped, but somehow the plans for the widening

Courtenay Street remained, and so began 25 years of uncertainty and

frustration for its residents.

32 33


There was no doubt the street was in need of an upgrade. It boasted

an uncommonly high camber, narrow sidewalks, and deep, cyclistunfriendly

gutters. Traffic speeds were also of concern, particularly given

the proximity of St Albans School. But a widening – now for absolutely

no reason – would cost many of those down the street their entire front

yards. Council staff and residents went to-and-fro, but a satisfactory

solution could not be found.

Five years into this drama, community boards were introduced

to Christchurch, and Courtenay Street found a tireless ally in the

Shirley-Papanui Board. Finally, someone was listening. The board

lobbied the Council throughout the 1990s on the issue, and a

subcommittee repeatedly recommended that the widening be

abandoned. In 1998 funding for the project was removed, yet the

proposal still sat in the City Plan. Houses on the street were renovated,

but residents were afraid to landscape their front yards for fear of losing

them at the whim of the Council.

Finally, in 2007 the Board managed to get Courtenay Street residents

speaking rights at a Council meeting, and the opportunity was not wasted.

An impassioned presentation accompanied by a petition signed by all

those living on the street caught the attention of the councillors, and the

extra political power tipped the scales in favour of the residents.

In 2009, a resource consent to change the City Plan was granted, and the

street will finally receive an upgrade that reflects the community’s wishes:

one that slows traffic and preserves the street’s environs.

“It’s been a huge ongoing issue and the Community Board was behind

the residents the whole way,” said Emma Twaddle, a Courtenay Street

resident. “They were good. They worked together, were very supportive,

and backed up what they said.”

How Pooling Resources Built A Playground

Set in a quiet corner of St Albans Primary School, is an example of how

partnerships can result in tangible benefits for an entire community.

In 2007, the school identified the need for a new playground to serve the

school’s older children. The two existing playgrounds had become too

small for the 500+ student population.

The Board of Trustees discussed the problem and realised cost was going

to be an issue. Council staff were contacted and identified the area as

lacking a community playground. The Council too had a problem in that

building a playground from scratch for the community would be cost

prohibitive. Working together to build a playground for both the school

and the community seemed an ideal solution.

There were legal hurdles along the way as the Council was in a position

of occupying land that was owned by the Ministry of Education but

controlled by a Board of Trustees. All three parties had to work together

closely to overcome the red tape obstacles and the result was a License to

Occupy being drawn up between the Council, Ministry and School.

Council designers then worked with the school’s students to come up with

a design that was put out to the community for consultation. The final

playground has giant pukeko eggs, a spacenet climbing frame, ‘raupo’

climbing poles and balance beam, native landscaping and an eel motif.

It’s a huge asset to both the school and the community.

How the costs were shared:

Christchurch City Council $50,000.00

CCC per annum maintenance costs $1,500.00

St Albans Primary School* $38,000.00

*The bulk of the School’s funding came from a School Fair and other

events, with the support of their PTA

34 35


Awards

Support Staff

The original manager of Te Koru, the Papanui Youth Centre, Ross Banbury (left) and Yvonne

Palmer, then chair of the Board accept the 2007 Supreme Award for Best Practice from then

Minister for Transport Safety, Harry Duynhoven.

The following Best Practice Awards have been presented to the Shirley-

Papanui Community Board at the biannual Community Board Conference.

No other community board in New Zealand has won so many of these

awards, which recognise excellence in the sector.

2003 First place in the ‘Significant Project’ category for the 40

Year Vision of the Styx River

2003 Highly Commended in the ‘Facilitation’ category for

Neighbourhood Week

2005 First place in the ‘Working with Children’ category for

Childrens’ Day

2005 First place in the ‘Facilitation’ category for Northlands

Shopping Mall Redevelopment

2007 Supreme Award for the Papanui Youth Facility, Casebrook

Intermediate School and Children’s Day projects

2007 First place in the ‘Working with Children and Youth’ category

for the Papanui Youth Facility, Casebrook Intermediate School

and Children’s Day projects

2007 Highly Commended in the ‘Consultation’ category for the Long

Term Council Community Plan

2009 First place in the ‘Safety’ category for Host Responsibility

2009 Highly Commended in the “Working With Children” category for

Junior Neighbourhood Support Canterbury

Additional awards

1998 Gold in the ‘Communications’ section of the New Zealand

Landscape Awards

2003 Public Health Association of New Zealand, Canterbury branch

award for Health Promotion

A large number of staff has supported and worked for the Shirley-Papanui

Community Board in its 21-year history. It is acknowledged that they are

the backbone of the board and that, collectively, they have been a key

contributor to its success. The following people are four of those who

have been the senior adviser to the board since its inception.

Stephen Phillips

Community Manager 1989 – 1993

‘A huge learning curve’ is how

I’d describe that first term of

the Shirley-Papanui Community

Board. Not only were we dealing

with a completely new model of

local government, we were dealing

with councillors from both the old

Christchurch City and Waimairi

District Councils – they had to

learn how to best work with

each other and with their fellow

board members.

There were some tensions and it was apparent, on occasion, that those

in council saw the community board members as being lower down the

food chain.

Not only was I responsible for ensuring effective support and advice

was provided to the board, I had to ensure our new service centre was

providing effective delivery of council services. That was an important

aspect of the job…it was the first time we’d had decentralisation of

council services so I was determined to make that work (even if we

were in a tiny, temporary building).

The service delivery aspect was challenging but also very rewarding.

The service centre was very busy and locals reacted very positively

to having access to council services so close to a community hub,

Northlands Mall.

Overall, it was an exciting time. The new model of local government

really gave access to ‘the people’. It enabled residents to have a say

more easily on local issues. One thing that contributed to that was the

relaxed atmosphere of board meetings – the Council chambers were

very formal in those days and could be intimidating for those unfamiliar

with that environment. By contrast, the community board meetings

were relaxed and informal, that resulted in an increase in submissions

and deputations.

It was a busy but satisfying time.

36 37


Barbara Ford

Committee Secretary 1989 – 1993, Community Manager 1993 - 2002

1989 was an exciting time.

We had had a huge shift in the

local authority structure and

were all working in a new, though

temporary, service centre. It was

a prefab in Northlands Mall carpark

and though it was a popular

destination for the community

relieved at having somewhere

local to access basic council

services, it wasn’t a great place

to work.

It was interesting how different people viewed the community boards.

To some they were almost a gimmick and those people felt council did

the ‘real work’. That mind set didn’t take long to shift though.

By the beginning of the second term, in 1992, the board had settled

into its role and functions. The election of Sally Thompson, a board

member, as its chair was a significant turning point. It gave the other

board members the confidence to take control of their own direction.

By this time, the community was becoming far more aware of the board

and its role and we saw an increase in the number of partnerships that

were forged by the board…particularly with residents’ associations,

schools and other community groups.

My promotion to the role of Community Manager in 1993 saw me focus

on managing the service centre staff, advising the community board

and liaising with the Council’s Tuam Street headquarters on a range of

administration issues.

A major task for me was to project manage the search for and the

establishment of a new and permanent Service Centre. This was a major

undertaking – land was scarce in Papanui at that time so finding the site

proved to be very difficult. As the search took longer than expected, the

Service Centre was moved from its prefab to another temporary site in a

building on Main North Road. It was around this time the vision for the

city’s first combined library and service centre was created. The libraries

team had been looking for a site for a new Papanui library and we realised

that land and buildings were so scarce we would be better to combine

efforts and create a new one-stop-shop.

The opening of such a centre on Langdons Road on Saturday, 11 February

1995 was a huge boost for the board. The fact they had their own

boardroom to meet in gave them a real focus. Until then they’d met in all

sorts of spaces – including the rugby club rooms on Westminster Street

and the boardroom at Foodstuffs. It also made it easier for people to

come along and speak to the board and we did notice a slight increase in

the number of deputations to meetings.

As time went on, we saw the board members get out and about more,

educating the community about what they did. It was always an

incredibly innovative board and stood out as being pro-active and

integrated with the community. I think one of the reasons for that was

that when the Board was created, its ward boundaries were a mix of the

Waimairi District and Christchurch City Council’s. This meant there was no

former council building to move into and it was truly a new start for both

the Board and the community.

Nick Chapman (deceased)

Community Manager then Community Advocate 2002 – December 2003

Nick Chapman, who was born

in the United Kingdom, was

appointed to the Community

Manager position after working

for more than 20 years at the

Beckenham Service Centre (initially

for the Heathcote County Council

and latterly for the Spreydon-

Heathcote Community Board).

A well-educated man, his career

had been diverse with stints

as a mining engineer in South

Africa and Canada before he qualified as a barrister in the England. He

emigrated to New Zealand after meeting his New Zealand born wife, Liz.

Yvonne Palmer chaired the board for the majority of Nick’s employment

there. She remembers him as a passionate advocate for the community

whose exceptional legal mind was of enormous value to the Board.

Friend and former Christchurch City Council employee Max Robertson

remembers Nick as extremely personable.

“He was a very good people person and could relate to all walks of life…

a very social person.”

His wife, Liz Chapman, echoes those sentiments.

“He was great at talking to people, he could talk to anybody. He liked

how his work let him reach out into the community and especially enjoyed

his involvement with the Styx River Project.”

Peter Croucher

Community Adviser, August 2007 - current

In August 2007, I joined the

Christchurch City Council as

an Advisor to the Shirley-Papanui

Community Board after six years

of working at the Hurunui

District Council.

I had always heard about the

Board in local government circles

and was reminded of its reputation

when the Mayor of Hurunui, Gary

Jackson, upon learning of my

appointment came to me and said,

wide-eyed, “You’re going to be working with Yvonne Palmer and

her board...that will be amazing.”

So far it has been. My job focuses on providing secretarial and

administrative services and most importantly, advice to the board on its

advocacy role. I must also ensure that the decisions they make are within

their delegation and are enacted. I’m also the conduit for all information

requests from the board.

While the current board is fortunate to have experienced members,

I do have to provide advice from time to time to ensure they are aware of

their obligations under the Local Government Act, the Local Government

Official Information and Meetings Act and other associated legislation.

I really enjoy the interaction with board members and the public who wish

to interact with them and find I am constantly stimulated and challenged.

One of the key challenges is being part of the upskilling of new board

members at the beginning of each electoral term. It is important that they

are fully aware of the Board’s delegations from an early stage. It is very

satisfying to be able to advise them on how they can, as individuals, get

matters on the Board table for discussion and hopefully achieve support

from their fellow members.

My time here has shown me that the Board deserves its reputation as

one of the most innovative in the city. The past and current boards have

worked so hard at ensuring that innovative ideas become reality, and

have a proven record of setting the standard in a number of areas.

38 39


The Keys To Our Success

The Future Of Community Boards

The success of the Shirley-Papanui Community Board is likely down to an

infinite number of factors. The below are those identified by a number of

people who have worked on, for and with the Board since its inception.

Engaging The Community

Visiting community groups, local organisations and attending local events

and talking to those there has helped the board raise its profile, increase

the understanding of its role while broadening its knowledge of its

community and residents’ wants and needs. Such contact has resulted

in some of the board’s most successful projects. For example, the new

Champion Street Reserve would not have been developed had neighbours

not complained of crime, vandalism and accessibility issues.

A Strong Relationship With Council

The Board has concentrated on knowing all of the city’s councillors,

not just those in its ward. It has also concentrated on understanding the

Council’s corporate structure and knowing key managers of specific areas.

From time to time, members have gone down and knocked on office

doors at the Council’s Tuam Street headquarters to ask for help on

difficult issues. It’s discovered a positive side effect to that – those

they ask will often feel a vested interest in seeing the issue through

to a positive solution.

Advocacy

Board members have always let both councillors and council staff,

know what issues are upsetting its community. They have gone above

simply submitting formal requests for funding and instead, taken time

to talk to and educate the politicians on why a specific project or idea

is important. And, where appropriate, it has encouraged community

representatives to speak to council meetings directly. The Brooklands

Kainga residents had great success in getting funding for their water

supply made a priority on the Council’s budget when they turned up

with jars of discoloured water from their home supply at a council

meeting and offered councillors a drink.

Tenacity

This board’s leadership has encouraged it not to give up on issues.

If it’s told no, representatives will ask again or they will ask someone

else. A collective knowledge of central government departments and

other funders has meant they know where else to go when one turns

them down. The Morrison Avenue Reserve was rejected for funding on

consecutive Council budgets…the board didn’t give up and the park is

there today.

Partnership

Recognising the value in partnership has been the difference between

some of the board’s projects and ideas becoming a reality or not. The

board has engaged with numerous partners…councils, private business,

community organisations and government departments. Te Koru, the

Papanui Youth Centre would not have been established were it not for

a unique partnership.

Education

Before it even attempts to innovate, advocate or approach a partner

the board ensures it knows its project inside and out. It research’s

important background information and looks at why it is important.

This has ensured it makes the best first impression on anyone it

approaches. The Groynes Dog Park would never have got off the

ground were the community’s views not documented and presented

to the Council along with research showing Christchurch had the highest

number of dogs per capita in New Zealand.

Innovation

The board looks beyond past examples of solutions to problems. It will

talk to people and think outside the square to find innovative solutions.

What’s more its determination has meant it challenges advice – the board

was told it was impossible to build community playgrounds on Ministry of

Education land...they asked ‘why not’ set up a unique agreement with the

Ministry and a popular community playground stands in St Albans School

grounds today.

The Personal View Of Yvonne Palmer

It is widely believed, in local

government circles, that

Auckland’s Super City is just the

beginning of a list of possible

council amalgamations. It is

likely Wellington will be next

and Canterbury not far behind.

The Super City structure has

seen the creation of between

20 and 30 Community Boards…

any other amalgamation is likely

to do the same.

The trend will see councils looking after larger geographical areas and

it is vital those representatives are given the opportunity to concentrate

on the strategic direction of their areas. This can be achieved by giving

Community Boards greater delegations and funding to take care of the

provision of core services and community at a grass roots level.

The time has also come for elected members to be given some real

and meaningful training, particularly if the future sees us with more

community boards with greater powers. I think a ‘Democracy Training

Course’ should be established which candidates should be made to take

before they stand for a seat. This would lead to an improvement in the

quality of candidates, it would ensure those standing know what they’re

in for, what they can achieve and would surely establish whether it is

really a role they want. Even better…it would have to result in a drop in

the number of election promises that can’t be kept and an overall lift in

the quality and calibre of board members.

I also think, that to ensure those who are elected onto our Community

Boards are genuinely familiar with that community, we should require

candidates to have lived in the ward in which they are standing for a set

period…let’s get rid of the carpet baggers.

Overall, it’s vital that the relationships between councils and community

boards continue to improve. Christchurch has some great examples of

how that can happen with the city’s board chairs required to attend a

council meeting each month – we are given speaking rights at it and,

in addition, visits from the CEO and the Mayor at board meetings twice

a year – long may that continue. Such initiatives open communications,

strengthen the relationships and give politicians a much better view

of the ‘bigger picture’.

Finally, it is time for our community boards and councils to knuckle

down and start planning for our aging population (particularly those

in Christchurch which will have the largest proportion of elderly people

of any city in coming years). If we’re going to make this population’s

lives easier then we need to now start reviewing and improving public

transport, building walkways, installing tailored recreation equipment

in parks and ensuring there are adequate support services to meet their

needs. The result will be a greater awareness and compassion, closer

neighbourhoods and overall communities that care and work together

to make our cities and suburbs better places to live – for everyone.

Yvonne Palmer, QSM JP

40 41


For more information on the Shirley-Papanui Community Board,

please contact:

Shirley-Papanui Service Centre

35 Langdons Road (corner Langdons Rd & Restell St)

Christchurch 8053

Phone: +64 3 941 7923

Fax: +64 3 941 7075

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