National honours for TEMO's Emergency Management Platform

Friday 14 June, 2024

Tairāwhiti Emergency Management Office (TEMO) has won a prestigious national award for its Common Operating Picture (COP) intelligence dashboard.

TEMO won the inaugural Member’s Choice Award at the Taituarā Excellence Awards and Gala Dinner in Wellington last night, recognising exceptional achievement in civil defence emergency management.

TEMO group manager Ben Green paid tribute to his whole team and particularly project lead and intelligence manager Kumeroa Papuni-Tuhaka and Council geospatial team leader Orlo Dennison.

“In an emergency, you have a lot of data coming in and you have to make sense of what you need to see,” says Mr Green. “In an operational space, it is key how we apply that both in terms of maintaining situational awareness and how we collect and analyse our intelligence data.”

He says operating without data is akin to flying a plane without a windscreen or instruments.

“Correct use of the data translates to responsive and informed decision making.”

The project had come out of the operational responses TEMO has led in the last three years of challenging weather.

“Across the region, we have a lot of broken people and communities in what have been unprecedented times. To have this tool is vital for our response,” says Mr Green.

“We are constantly improving and tweaking the COP which is highlighted as a significant gap in the recent national report into the North Island severe weather events and what is needed at a national and regional level. We don’t have that gap in our system.”

The COP system integrates real-time data and geospatial mapping giving critical insights and decision-making tools, significantly improving responses during an emergency.

When the TEMO team has shown the system to Mayors, Chief Executives and other agencies the feedback has generally been one of amazement.

“They are blown away when they see it and it’s what many other groups aspire to have within the sector. As one of the smallest regions in the country we punch well above our weight but that is from experience gained over three years of significant events and a professional team that is well-practiced at how we do our craft.”

The national organisation has now seen what can be achieved but to replicate that on a nationwide level would be very complex.

“It is aspirational at a national level – in the mid to long term they will get there but in the interim we have a product that will cover us well into the future until that national system is developed.”

The COP reflected the TEMO team’s ‘day job’ as emergency professionals.

“We work on the operational systems and processes to run an effective and coherent response. We are constantly prepared for tomorrow . . . that is our continual focus.”

The national awards attracted 54 entries and this year, to celebrate 10 years of excellence, Taituarā asked members to vote for their favourite entry in each category and overall.

“To be selected from the pool of project entries was amazing”.

The TEMO team weren’t the only locals to come home with an award.

Gisborne District Council Strategic Planning Manager Charlotte Knight won the overseas manager exchange to the United States.

The LGFA Taituarā Local Government Excellence Awards organisers praised Tairāwhiti’s innovative digital platform which revolutionises situational awareness and enhances response capabilities during emergencies.

Taituarā LG awards with anita nedine ben lillian charlotte and kume

Winners at the Taituarā Excellence Awards and Gala Dinner in Wellington (from left) Council Director Engagement and Māori partnerships Anita Reedy-Holthausen, Council Strategic Planning Manager Charlotte Knight, TEMO Group Manager Ben Green, Council Chief Executive Nedine Thatcher Swann, TEMO COP project lead and Intelligence Manager Kumeroa Papuni-Tuhaka, and Council Rural Area Liaison Manager Lillian Ward.