Excellence in disaster response recognised in national planning awards

A joint response to complex planning and technical challenges following the Canterbury Earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 in parts of the Waimakariri District north of Christchurch has achieved the supreme accolade at this year’s New Zealand Planning Institute (NZPI) awards.

The draft Waimakariri Residential Red Zone Recovery Plan – developed by Waimakariri District Council, Greater Christchurch Group (within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet), Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and Te Ngāi Tū Ahuriri Rūnanga – won both the award for Best Practice Strategic

Planning and Guidance and the Nancy Northcroft Award, which is the NZPI’s supreme award.

The Recovery Plan proposes parks and reserves, walking and cycling links, community facilities, mixed use business areas, roads and infrastructure, and provision for heritage and mahinga kai activities and rural activities.

NZPI chief executive David Curtis says the judges drew attention to how the project “displayed innovative and creative excellence in planning, community engagement and leadership, successfully responding to complex planning and technical requirements across three distinct regeneration areas within a relatively short time frame.

“The plan provides a good balance between certainty and flexibility in land uses and successfully integrates the proposed land uses within the wider community and planning framework.”

Other key awards related to natural hazard planning in the Bay of Plenty, transport and infrastructure planning in Auckland, consultation on a pedestrian / cycle bridge in Palmerston North and a disaster risk reduction project in Vanuatu.

Curtis said a variety of significant national and regional projects were nominated, with competition being so intense the awards committee determined that additional projects needed to be recognised as Highly Commended within some of the categories.

Commenting at the end of NZPI’s conference in Wellington, Curtis said the top three planning issues addressed were reform of Resource Management Act, urban development and natural hazards. Water management, living-roof urbanism, Māori participation in Resource Management processes, compact cities, transport and rural issues were also on the agenda.

More than 600 delegates attended the conference. This included, in addition to planners and resource management practitioners, industry leaders, iwi, designers, scientists, members of the legal profession and judiciary and local and central government representatives.

The NZPI conference, which has been held annually since 1964, coincides with “an unprecedented period of planning reform and legislative change,” David Curtis said.

NZPI 2017 Awards summary

Nancy Northcroft Supreme Planning Practice Award & Best Practice Strategic Planning and Guidance Award

Project: Draft Waimakariri Residential Red Zone Recovery Plan

Award Winners:

  • Waimakariri District Council
  • Greater Christchurch Group within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
  • Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu
    • Te Ngāi Tū Ahuriri Rūnanga Inc.

Best Practice District or Regional Plan

Project: Natural Hazard Risk in the Bay of Plenty Regional Policy Statement

Award Winners:

  • Bay of Plenty Regional Council
  • Enfocus
  • GNS Science
    • Integrity Professionals Limited

Best Practice Integrated Planning and Investigations

Project: Transport for Future Urban Growth – Strategy Production Stage

Award Winners:

  • Auckland Transport
  • Auckland Council
  • NZ Transport Agency
    • Urbanismplus Limited

Best Practice Consultation and Participation Strategies and/or Processes

Project: He Ara Kotahi Pedestrian/Cycle Bridge Consultation

Award Winners:

  • Opus International Consultants Limited
  • Palmerston North City Council
    • Green Infrastructure Services

Best Practice Non Statutory

Project: Vanuatu Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Reduction Project

Award Winners:

  • BECA International Consultants Limited
  • GNS Science
  • Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department
    • National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research

Rodney Davies Project Award

PROJECT: Section 1 Merton Road to St Johns Road, Te Ara Ki Uta Ki Tai – Glen Innes to Tamaki Drive Shared Path


  • Auckland Transport
  • NZ Transport Agency
  • MWH now part of Stantec

Papa Pounamu Outstanding Service Award

Award Winner: Dame Nganeko Minhinnick – in recognition of her contribution to Maori environmental planning and resource management.

Reginald Hammond Scholarship

Award Winner: Pippa Huddleston