Each year Christchurch City Council honours outstanding citizens with the Christchurch City Council Civic Award, recognising a person’s service and contribution to the city.

Systems Innovator George Lajpold was recently acknowledged with the 2020 Civic Award (Emerging Leader) for his outstanding service and mahi while part of the team at Healthy Families Ōtautahi before joining us here at Healthy Families Hutt Valley, as a Systems Innovator – Smokefree.

George has represented both New Zealand and the Cook Islands in rugby league as well as being an accredited Coach Developer.  It is in Christchurch where George has transformed the rugby league game to influence positive change. 

Within the Canterbury sport and recreation sector, George led a strategy around alcohol harm reduction and addressing anti-social behaviour within sport.  Working in partnership with Canterbury Rugby League, Canterbury District Health Board and the Christchurch City Council Alcohol Licensing group to develop a model supporting the education of club membership and enhance the knowledge of club administrators relating to the effective application and management of alcohol legislation.

George’s philosophy is “look after the person first” – and he takes this to heart.  Many sporting codes are familiar with issues around sideline behaviour, in George’s case he was committed to leverage the influence of the sport to enable change – which has not only been sustainable but has changed the game completely for families and communities.

We are delighted and super proud to have George’s mahi recognised in this way.