Caption: The Wellington Association of City Housing Artists (WACHA) won the AHI Housing Excellence Award for the best Tenant-led Initiative in New Zealand. Pictured accepting the Award on behalf of WACHA are Justin Tate, Andrew Morrison, Bruce Hurley – also known as Gypsy Blu – and Kay McCormick.
Wellington City Council housing initiatives were the cream of the crop at the Australasian Housing Institute’s New Zealand leg of the Excellence in Housing Awards in Wellington tonight – scooping four out of six categories.
In what was effectively a celebration of the City Housing team’s work and the Housing Upgrade Project, the Awards won were the Inspirational Colleague Award (won by Vicki McLaren), Leading Innovation (the WCC Community Action Programme team), Leading Housing Solution (HUP), and most importantly the Tenant-led Initiative Award won by the Wellington Association of City Housing Artists (WACHA).
Australasian Housing Institute president Tony Gilmour commented that the WACHA initiative set an example he had not seen on the “West side of the Tasman” (Australia) and was one that the Institute would definitely be promoting in publications such as its international magazine HousingWORKS.
In the written citations for the Inspirational Colleague Award won by Vicki McLaren, City Housing’s Group Manager, Mayor Celia Wade-Brown commended Vicki’s vision for City Housing and her exceptional ability in engaging WCC colleagues and team members in the development of new strategies and programmes. “Vicki’s relationship with our tenants is involves a real respect for them, their abilities and their unique life stories”.
WCC chief executive Garry Poole’s citation included the statement of pride to have “Vicki on board in (the role she plays) especially during the Council’s joint project with the Crown to upgrade all of our properties, the most intensive housing revitalisation project in New Zealand’s history”.
Other major Award winners on the night were Housing New Zealand’s Canterbury team for their work above and beyond the call of duty in responding to the effects of the earthquake crisis on tenants and housing stock, alongside the Christchurch City Council housing team for its equally significant work in rallying in behind the citizens and social housing residents of Christchurch.
A follow-up report on these AHI Awards will feature on Wellington.Scoop next week.