• Attendees enjoying the Takapuna-Devonport Local Board Volunteer Vwards, on Tuesday 18th June
  • Auckland Councillor Richard Hills and Norma Bott from Milford Residents Association
  • Devonport-Takapuna Local Board chair Toni van Tonder, Dave Atkinson from Grow Forrest Hill, Richard Hills, Auckland Councillor
  • Devonport-Takapuna Local Board member George Wood and Bernie Ranford who received the Community Leader Award
  • Devonport-Takapuna Local Board member Melissa Powell and Aloi Moataane who won the Youth Champion award
  • Devonport-Takapuna Local Board deputy chair Terence Harpur presenting the Collaborative Volunteering Award to Philippe Paya from New Dawn Partnerships

Your Local Board to stay LOCAL (for now)

Another big month done and dusted and another one on its way. In a massive surprise outcome, the governing body made the call not to consult on a local board re-organisation for next year’s local elections, deciding instead to do a more thorough job of a re-organisation proposal in time for the 2028 elections. That means your local board will stay exactly that, your Local board. Your representatives are people who live or work locally. They know the ins and outs of our geographic area, have strong relationships with clubs, community groups and funded partners, and work hard to represent local interests. The proposal that had been on the table would have diluted local voice and local decision-making would not be held locally. So we’re happy with that reprieve and look forward to hearing the community's views on what the future of local representation might look like for 2028.

Last month we approved our annual work programme, again placing a strong focus on our environment. Our two key restoration groups Pupuke Birdsong Project and Restoring Takarunga Hauraki are going from strength to strength, building capacity, growing their volunteer base, and in the case of RTH, establishing their own plant nursery, propagating natives for local restoration. It’s critical work given our local tree canopy coverage is just 16%. We continue to fund these two organisations to ensure their success. Likewise, we’ve strengthened our funding to our two Community Houses in Devonport and Sunnynook. These two facilities are the veritable beating hearts of our neighbourhoods and are now the home to our community activators who are busy connecting our harder-to-reach community members with the activities and services they require.
We have maintained a really healthy-sized grants budget as one of our key philosophies is to empower the community to fund and deliver the activities and events they wish to see in the place they call home. Council is very good at the top-down approach, funding what they think is important. We believe in letting our residents decide for themselves what they want to see delivered locally. Grassroots community development is where it’s at, so I encourage groups to apply to our two annual funding rounds. We would be delighted to support you to get your great ideas off the ground.
On Tuesday 18 June we hosted our first ever volunteer awards night at the Milford Cruising Club. It was an absolute joy of an occasion, and we are grateful to all the people and organisations who nominated their volunteer champions. We have so many wonderful volunteers out there in our community. These folk are the everyday heroes who volunteer at community events, who plant and weed our public spaces or empty street gutters and collect litter. They’re the people who volunteer their skills to see community organisations thrive, or coach kids on our sports fields. We have a list of aspirations contained in our Local Board plan to see that our communities are connected, that the environment is thriving, our town centres prospering, our sports clubs burgeoning; and without every community champion volunteering their time, none of those aspirations would ever be met. These champions are the ones doing the mahi, and they’re doing it because they care; they care about their place, and they care about their neighbourhoods. Thanks to every one of you who gifts your skills and time.
A huge congratulations to Terehia Walker, for winning the diversity & inclusion category, to New Dawn Partnership for winning the collaborative volunteering award, to Aloi Moataane for winning the youth champion award, Bruce Ward for winning the environmental heroes award, and Bernie Ranford for winning the community leader award. We’re lucky to have you.

Toni van Tonder, Chair, Devonport-Takapuna Local Board
Email: toni.vantonder@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz