Hamilton City Council wins Infrastructure New Zealand Excellence in Social Impact Award

November 19, 2020


Hamilton City Council’s Te Awa River Path Project won the 2020 Infrastructure New Zealand Excellence in Social Impact Award, sponsored by Downer at the ReBuilding Nations Gala Dinner last night.

The project repaired and restored a 2.4km section of the Te Awa River Ride path which runs along the western side of the Waikato River, while creating employment for 50 people who had lost jobs due to COVID19.

Award judge, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and award-winning social and sustainable procurement expert Alice Bray said the Te Awa River Path was an excellent example of an infrastructure initiative that has gone above and beyond to enable outstanding economic, social and cultural outcomes. “Te Awa River project captured the heart of the Excellence in Social Impact Award. Hamilton City Council went above and beyond to provide for those facing unemployment due to COVID19, partnering with their supplier base, other government agencies and their community to create lasting economic and employment outcomes for their region. The swift action and leadership taken by all involved in the Te Awa River project resulted in positive change for the 50 individuals impacted, their whānau and wider community. COVID19 required us to band together to support each other, a mission that this project absolutely succeeded in.”

Hamilton City Council (HCC) was granted funding by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Provincial Growth Fund in June 2020 to enhance a section of the much-loved Te Awa River Ride Pathway, which connects key destinations and green spaces throughout the city and provides important recreation opportunities for Hamiltonians. HCC sourced workers for the project from the Ministry of Social Development, with a focus on employing those who were out of work due to the COVID19 pandemic.

Another aim of the project was to provide workers with skills they could use in future employment. 17 workers completed HCC’s five-day Road Ready training programme aimed at preparing workers for careers in the construction sector and equipping them with transferrable skills they could use for life.

Recognising the importance of the Waikato’s awa (rivers and waterways) to Iwi, HCC partnered with Waikato-Tainui and Ngati Haua Trust to deliver the training programme and project.

Infrastructure New Zealand Board Member and award judge Tracey Ryan said the Te Awa River project demonstrated a clear intention and genuine impact, “Hamilton City Council achieved a range of outcomes with the Te Awa River Path project – enhancing the environment to make Hamilton a great place to live, work, play and visit, while providing immediate support and recovery to people who had lost jobs due to COVID19. HCC also provided an important boost to the local economy by letting 100% of the contract value to local businesses.”

Hamilton City Council was chosen from 18 other entries to win the Infrastructure New Zealand Excellence in Social Impact Award, sponsored by Downer.

Several other projects also received special awards:

Highly Commended

  • Auckland Council-owned Healthy Waters and Māori SME Height Project Management for their Sustainable Outcomes Toolkit, a user-friendly resource to help procuring organisations identify social outcomes opportunities, embed them in the tender process and evaluate and measure them.
  • Citycare for their partnership with the Student Volunteer Army to fund community impact projects and their commitment to creating employment opportunities for Māori and Pasifika, the long-term unemployed, the disabled, youth and women prisoners finishing their sentences.

Special Award – Contribution to the Industry

  • Mates in Construction for its contribution to the construction industry in reducing the over representation of suicide and poor mental health.


For further information and comment contact Sarah Lang on 021 733 434