Whanganui has been included in the world's Top7 Intelligent Communities by the Intelligent Community Forum.

The announcement was made yesterday and means the district joins seven communities worldwide awarded the prestigious title for their work on developing community and economic prosperity using broadband technology.

The six other communities include Hsinchu City (Taiwan), Montreal (Canada), Muelheim an der Ruhr (Germany), New Taipei City (Taiwan), Surrey (British Columbia, Canada) and Winnipeg (Canada).

Mayor Annette Main said she was "absolutely thrilled".


For the past four years Whanganui has been selected as a Smart21 Intelligent Community, from which the Top7 was selected.

Ms Main, who chairs the Whanganui Digital Leaders Forum, said it put the district in impressive company.

"If you look at the list you can see that we're ranked up there with some huge cities like Montreal. It's incredibly exciting."

She said years of work have gone in to developing Whanganui's digital framework and the district's application focused on urban and regional planning and its impact on the way people lived, worked and created in community.

"We started by lobbying for an early ultrafast broadband build, which was completed last year," Ms Main said.

"From there we've been determined to make the most of Whanganui's digital infrastructure.

"Whanganui's vision is to be a leader in the digital world and we are well on our way.

"We get calls most weeks from other councils in New Zealand asking about our Smart21 status and asking for advice."

She said the Top7 application was a community-wide project, which included innovative projects from businesses and not-for-profit groups, as well as from the Whanganui District Council.

"The Top7 award is fantastic but in the end it really is the journey that matters.

"It's all about improving our communities and making it a better world for everyone to live in.

"One of our aims is to make New Zealand the best place to be when it comes to using digital technology for a sustainable future for everyone."