Boards find better ways to work together

Publish Date : 20 Apr 2023
South Forum
Franklin Local Board chair Angela Fulljames, Damian Light from Howick, and Glenn Murphy of Manurewa discuss ways to work together to benefit residents across all their areas.

The chairs and deputies of Auckland’s southern local boards continue to meet to find common ground.

Manurewa Local Board chair Glenn Murphy chaired the most recent forum and says it makes sense to meet and see where boards can work together.

“We all face similar challenges. We aren’t always going to agree, when our communities are so diverse, but there’s more that unites than divides us.”

Māngere-Ōtāhuhu was represented by deputy chair Harry Fatu Toleafoa. “Our communities suffered flooding, Cyclone Gabrielle and a tornado hit Botany, part of the Howick area. The weather doesn’t care what kind of community you are, and nor should we. We all want the best for our people.”  

The forum brings the Franklin, Papakura, Manurewa, Ōtara-Papatoetoe, Māngere-Ōtāhuhu, Manungakiekie-Tāmaki and Howick boards together.

Manungakiekie-Tāmaki chair Maria Meredith says her area might not even be considered part of the south but there is no downside to understanding where neighbouring boards sit on issues.

“We all have an interest in the Manukau Harbour, we all have growth issues, we all have transport and infrastructure concerns., and we can all learn off each other.”

Franklin chair Angela Fulljames says it allows members to discuss approaches with the potential to attract council resources, and to establish common advocacy positions. “We are a third of Auckland’s boards and speaking collectively amplifies everyone’s position. We talk about collaboration being our superpower.”

While the forum has no decision-making power, Ōtara-Papatoetoe chair Apulu Reece Autagavaia says the benefits of working together are obvious. “Imagine if we find ways to pool resources or co-fund something through our work programmes. That’s a more productive way to work.”

Papakura chair Brent Catchpole says the ability to outline a board’s position to neighbours is invaluable. “There are no new problems, just ones someone has faced before, and having the ability to tap into that knowledge can’t be underestimated.”

Meetings take place every two months, Howick chair Damian Light says having meetings ahead of a city-wide forum, allows the south to present a common response to issues.

“We’re all interested in achieving the best for our areas, but we recognise we’re part of something wider. If Howick can help get more equitable outcomes for South Auckland, that’s a good thing.”

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