Back to the Future 2015 Conference Wrap



NZPI Conference 2015 Wrap Up & Proceedings, Auckland NZ



As the foremost professional development and networking occasion for planners and professionals this year, the Institutes’ 2015 conference gathered more than 800 delegates from diverse and wide-ranging industries, for four days of forward focused thinking and discourse, themed “Back to the Future”.
Planners came together to share ideas, address global and local planning issues and celebrate planning success in New Zealand’s fastest growing city Auckland.




Hosted by the Auckland/ Northland Branch, a powerful ceremony launched the conference with the exchanging of treasures - Taonga, a Purerehua representing our Muri between 2014 conference Iwi Ngai Tahu and local Orakei Iwi Ngati Whatua, followed by an emotive performance by Ngati Whatua kai karanga, setting the scene for a standout program, which featured an unprecedented number of international speakers, workshops, streams, social options and field trips
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MC Mirama Kamo delighted delegates with her engaging stage presence and intellectual prowess during panel sessions, questioning speakers for answers most important to planners in their daily practice. Attendees were most impressed with insights shared from international speakers, Charles Montgomery, Tim Stonor, Richard Saul Wurman, Rhonda Sincavage, John Tolva and Dr. Mark Elliott.





Local speakers addressing issues from around New Zealand rated highly, particularly Day One’s Sustainability, Resilience and Innovation stream including Day Two’s Future of Smarter Cities workshop, the Rodney Davies Research Symposium and Urban Design Forum.





Pre-conference workshops
, YP Congress and Hui were big winners this year with record attendance at all, which is reflective of strong themes and programs provided by each group. YP Congress, themed Urban Legends received 180 delegates, Papa Pounamu Hui, 131 delegates and Elected Reps Workshop 61 delegates.





Papa Pounamu has grown to a full day hui featuring a variety of speakers presenting on a range of topics including Tuhoe spatial planning, integrating matauranga Maori with western science, iwi and local government co-governance in practice and Maori urban and landscape design. A hui highlight was the presentation of an outstanding service award to Professor Hirini Matunga Maori and Pacifica Deputy Vice Chancellor Lincoln University for demonstrating with excellence Papa Pounamu values and service in Maori environmental planning and resource management.
A Pasifica Planners hui was also held during the conference to explore how Papa Pounamu could support the establishment of a Pasifica planners entity and network




Another new addition to the program was walking tours, proving popular during lunch breaks. The tours explored new shared space concepts, local heritage sites of interest and international award winning architecture.

More than 16 Field Trips were on offer this year, from Waiheke Island to the West and as far as Goat Island in the North, delegates enjoyed real life examples of work being carried out in the Auckland region, reinforcing conference themes and solutions to issues facing planners today.


As a green event, the Conference achieved a 92% waste diversion rate, the best ever with thanks to the successful waste elimination initiatives imposed at the event. Successful carbon conscious initiatives at the event included a partnership with Motutapu Trust and tie in with the Motutapu Island conference field trip.




NZPI’s mantra Empowering Planners, Promoting Planning Excellence was theme of this years Gala Awards, with more than 30 entries received; awards were presented for the first time during both the conference and to finalists at the spectacular Gala dinner hosted at Viaduct Harbour by MC Robert Rakete.




In keeping with the rest of the Conference programme the Gala Awards Dinner was an innovative multimedia showcase of stories from the front line, team comradery and successful winner’s projects.


This year Nancy Northcroft Supreme Best Practice Award winners, Hamilton based Bloxam, Burnett & Olliver and the New Zealand Transport Agency danced the night away to 9 piece grove band Hipstomatics. A story yet to be retold is that of Beaumont Trophy winner Matt Norwell of Barkers and Associates and to be remembered by all - a humorous dinner speech presented by Judge Kirkpatrick.





A huge thank you to all those involved in the production of the NZPI 2015 Conference, including the Local Organising Committee, led by Gurv Singh and Graeme McCarrison, the team at NZPI and most especially, our very generous sponsors without whom we would not have been able to deliver this years conference which received a highly successful 4.18/5 rating from delegates.





NZPI look’s forward with much anticipation to the 2016 Conference being held in the equally beautiful and heritage rich city of Dunedin.


Full details on Conference 2016 coming soon....