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Bob Parker

Former Mayor of Christchurch City.


Sir Bob Parker served four terms as Mayor of Christchurch City, including during the 2010-2011 earthquakes, one of New Zealand's deadliest and most catastrophic natural disasters. He won wide praise for his role, leadership and work in response to the quake that claimed 185 lives, and collapsed or undermined tens of thousands of buildings throughout the city and beyond.

Recently knighted for his services to the disaster recovery, Sir Bob Parker was also the recipient of the New Zealander of the Year 'Local Hero' Award, and nominated as one of 10 finalists in New Zealander of the Year. He led and developed post-earthquake design consultation 'share an idea', which was awarded the global Co-Creation Award, the first time this award had been granted outside of Europe.

He was also Chair of a major and now implemented multi-partner strategy for five Councils known as Greater Christchurch Urban Development Strategy, and has worked with the United Nations and the United States Armed Forces as well as local and central governments on earthquake and sustainability issues conferences in Nepal, Korea, Philippines, the UK and Australia.

Prime Minister John Key in a speech to the New Zealand Local Government stated that Sir Bob Parker's "commitment to the city during its darkest hours will be his legacy". An editorial in The Press noted that "his calm leadership throughout the emergency periods were noted for providing reassurance and hope to the people of Christchurch" while a February 2014 article in The Age spoke of his instant fame "around the world for the frank assessments he made to the assembled media about the emotion-charged rescue efforts."

Current work
In addition to his 22 years in local government, Sir Bob Parker's career spans 20 years in broadcasting, including owning local versions of international formats, producing, writing and presenting a variety of programs.

Recently appointed a Senior Follow at the University of Canterbury, he is now committed to a series of governance roles in both the private and charity sector, including as Chairman of the Board for a joint China-New Zealand property development company, and in high demand as a speaker on vision, strategy and leadership.

Bob was an entertaining and engaging speaker. He connected with the audience instantly and maintained a comfortable level of engagement throughout his presentation. His story about his experiences in the two Christchurch earthquakes, while incredibly sad for the city, provided inspiration for our audience on the work needed now to ensure capacity within workplaces and communities to best deal with difficult situations. Hume City Council
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