Mayor Celia Wade-Brown (centre) celebrates with the new Local Host team - photo by Mark Coote
From Wednesday, Local Host will replace the existing Walkwise city safety officer programme, with the emphasis on being friendly and welcoming for locals and visitors alike, while also supporting the Police presence on the street, particularly at night.
Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says the Local Host team has an important role to play in being great ambassadors for the city and helping to maintain a high level of safety.
"Wellington is the only capital city in the world to have International Safe Community status under the World Health Organisation and was re-accredited earlier this year.
"Local Hosts will be out and about in the central city - day and night - keeping an eye out for what's happening, talking to local retailers, bar and restaurant staff, as well as giving directions or answering questions from visitors about what's on in the city."
The Council's Social Portfolio Leader, Councillor Stephanie Cook, says the new team has just completed two weeks of intensive training. "They're now well versed in customer service, first aid and emergency procedures, as well as general knowledge about Wellington and its well-kept secret places - so they'll know the city like the back of their hands."
Cr Cook says the city's safety is the result of strong partnerships with the Police, ACC and Capital & Coast District Health Board.
"Our Local Hosts will be supporting these agencies when they're on the street, and at major events such as premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey."
As well as a new name, Local Host has a fresh new contemporary uniform of black and bright green Icebreaker clothing, a look that's more suited to the city's style and Wellington's climate.
The existing Walkwise service was contracted out to ADT/Armourguard and was reviewed earlier this year. As a result of the review, the service was brought back fully into the Council to make it more cost-effective and to give renewed focus on the busy nights in the city centre.
Local Host will be officially launched by Mayor Celia Wade-Brown today (Monday 19 November), with an afternoon tea for stakeholders to meet the new Local Host team before they start work on Wednesday.