Rotorua Lakes Council will have its fingers crossed at next month's Local Government New Zealand Excellence Awards and hopes locals will too.

The council is a finalist in three of the six award categories; Best Practice Contribution to Local Economic Development, Best Practice in Governance, Leadership and Strategy, and Delivery and Asset Management.

The awards relate to the council's economic development strategy to breathe new life into the inner city, its Planning for the Rotorua Way project and the Te Aka Mauri Library and Children's Health Hub.

Councillor Karen Hunt, the council's inner-city revitalisation lead, said being named as finalists was "hugely exciting".

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"The last two years we've entered the local government award and been extremely successful, we've taken out the supreme award and would love to do that again.

"I believe we've got a very good chance, the projects are innovative, cutting-edge and leading for councils around New Zealand."

Hunt said Te Aka Mauri had been groundbreaking and had garnered interest from councils around the country.

"All cities are making efforts to draw people in and provide a welcoming, fun, innovative space and that's what our projects have aspired to do," she said.

"Our council is the one people are talking about because we're changing the face of local government.

"We hope the rest of the community have their fingers crossed."

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Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick said the council was excited to see the results of the awards and said the way council did things was what set the projects apart.

"People are looking to Rotorua for the next innovation."

The awards judges said the Te Manawa, inner-city revitalisation project was "the culmination of a clearly thought out long-term strategy for central business district redevelopment which has given confidence to and drawn support from, the private sector".

Te Manawa when it was nearing completion in October last year. Photo / File
Te Manawa when it was nearing completion in October last year. Photo / File

But Rotorua Residents and Ratepayers chairwoman Glenys Searancke didn't agree.

"I can't comment for everybody but as an organisation, we're opposed to the city focus. We don't believe it's working, we believe it's very confusing for visitors to town," she said.

"I'm not surprised it's a finalist. The people judging these awards don't see them in physical action. The concept is different but is it working? We don't think it is."

On Te Aka Mauri and Children's Health Hub, awards judges said it was a good example of "strong use of community infrastructure to improve wellbeing within the district".

Searancke said it was too early to judge. The main thing the ratepayers' group opposed was the $12.3 million price tag.

She said the jury was out as to whether the hub would be a success.

"When they are looking to make these awards they are looking for different projects. This is different, there's no doubt about it, but is it going to work?"

The Planning for the Rotorua Way entry outlines the integrated strategic framework the council developed and is used to guide actions around the vision for the future of the city.

Judges were impressed by the continued delivery of the council's cohesive strategy.

Winners will be announced at the LGNZ conference dinner in Christchurch on July 16.

This year saw the highest number of entries in the awards' history.

Finalist categories
- Excellence Award for Best Practice Contribution to Local Economic Development: Economic development strategy to breathe new life into the inner-city
- Excellence Award for Best Practice in Governance, Leadership and Strategy: Planning for the Rotorua Way project
- Excellence Award for Delivery and Asset Management: Te Aka Mauri Library and Children's Health Hub