Shirley-Papanui Community Board 1989 - 2010
The First 21 Years Of New Zealand’s Most Awarded Community Board
Shirley-Papanui Community Board – 1989 - 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
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.
“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
Ginny Larson, The Neighbourhood Trust
The Birth Of Community Boards 4
An Overview 5
Support Staff 37
The Keys To Our Success 40
The Future of Community Boards 41
Contact Details 42
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
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
• Represent and act as an advocate for the interests of the
• 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
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
But most importantly, it regularly recognises the efforts and contributions
of individuals and groups within its community with five awards operating
“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
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
and Community Boundary
SAWYERS ARMS RD
COUTTS ISLAND RD
MAIN NORTH RD
Prepared by the Monitoring and Research Team, CCC, May 2007
MAIN NORTH RD
NORTH AVON RD
LWR STYX RD
LWR STYX RD
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,
Papanui, parts of Merivale
1989 – 1992
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 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
“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.
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.
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
“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
“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
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.
1992 – 1995
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 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
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
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
“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 –
Packe Street Park
1995 – 1998
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
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 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.”
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.”
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.
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.”
Shirley-Papanui Community Board 1995-1998
1998 – 2001
Cr Sally Thompson, Cr Robin Booth, Dennis Hills, Cr Morgan Fahey, Anne Carroll
Cr Graham Condon, Yvonne Palmer (Chairperson), Stephen Wright, Myra Barry
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.
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.
Key Achievements 1998 – 2001
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
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
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
• Construction of pedestrian islands on all roads surrounding the
• 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.
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
“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.
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 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.
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
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
• Back any effort to set up a Papanui business association.
• Consider providing an ESOL-trained person at the Shirley-Papanui
• Develop a safe pedestrian crossing on Harewood Road, near
• Work with police to improve the safety of crossings outside the
• 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
• 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.
2004 – 2007
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 died on 8 September 2007.
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
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
“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
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
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
“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.
• Availability of phone and taxi numbers.
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
Shirley/Papanui Community Board
“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
“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.
“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
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 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
“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 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.
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
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
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,
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
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.
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
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
2005 First place in the ‘Working with Children’ category for
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
1998 Gold in the ‘Communications’ section of the New Zealand
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.
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
There were some tensions and it was apparent, on occasion, that those
in council saw the community board members as being lower down the
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,
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
It was a busy but satisfying time.
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
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
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.”
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
For more information on the Shirley-Papanui Community Board,
Shirley-Papanui Service Centre
35 Langdons Road (corner Langdons Rd & Restell St)
Phone: +64 3 941 7923
Fax: +64 3 941 7075