Student Zone (yrs 8 - 13)

Planners make our cities and environments great for everyone to live, work and enjoy, we ensure the environment is protected for future generations.


Planning is a profession dedicated to building communities. Planners work to protect the environment, guide growth, enhance economic development and improve peoples quality of life.

Planners earn competitive salaries and have excellent career prospects in New Zealand and abroad.

Planning is a career in which you can help shape a better future.



Skills Planners need

  • Communication is a key skill for planners, who in any one day may be running a workshop, writing a report or speaking to the community.
  • Design to be able to understand and represent urban form and development plans.
  • Geography to understand the physical characteristics of places.
  • Sociology to be aware of the social matters that affect communities wellbeing.
  • Culture to understand how to communicate and plan for people with diverse backgrounds and values.
  • Environment to manage and protect our natural resources and landscape.
  • Economics to be able to assess the financial viability of private development and public projects.
  • Politics to understand the role of democracy and elected officials in managing and shaping our environment.
  • Law to understand and use the legal frameworks that are the basis for planning.




Relevant High School subjects

A career in planning can be specialised to your interests, and the skills you learn are highly transferable

Subjects that are relevant include:

  • English
  • Science
  • Mathematics
  • Graphic Design
  • Geography
  • Te Reo Māori
  • Economics
  • History
  • Social Studies


If you think a career in planning is for you, talk to your high school career advisor.




Planning Degree Structure

A career in Planning typically requires at least an undergraduate degree. Some choose to study planning at the postgraduate level after earning a degree in another field.

A planning degree may be structured as below:


For further information, check out the NZPI Tertiary Study section.




Where to Study

There are five Universities within NZ that offer NZPI accredited planning degrees, these are:

North Island

  • University of Auckland
  • Waikato University

South Island
  • Otago University
  • Massey University
  • Lincoln University

Check out the Tertiary Study section for full details




Organisations that need planners

Many organisations need good planners and there are a wide variety of places your career may take you.

Most planners work for:


Public Sector

  • Local authorities, such as city, district and regional councils
  • Government departments, such as Ministry for the Environment, New Zealand Transport Agency

Private Sector

  • Private consulting firms
  • Housing and commercial developers


Non-Government organisations (NGOs)

  • Advocacy organisations such as Forest and Bird
  • Iwi organisations
  • United Nations and policy organisations



A day in the life of a planner

​Some of the complex subjects’ planners work on include:




Your Career

Planning is a great career that involves a variety of work, competitive pay, and is a profession with opportunities to work globally including the United Kingdom, America and Australia. Planning is rated among the best career options for the 21st century and planners are in demand. In 2018, the average starting salary for a graduate planner was $67,000 [1] per annum.


[1] Source: New Zealand Planning Institute 2017/2018 Salary Survey Report




Examples of Planners Work

The New Zealand Planning Institute Awards celebrates the important role of the planning profession and highlights the best of the best from around the country.




For further information, check out our Planning as a Career section.