MEDIA RELEASE | E-planning Council Project Recognised in National Planning Awards

23 March 2018

A joint initiative to make district plans more accessible to the public as well as planners has achieved the supreme accolade at this year’s New Zealand Planning Institute (NZPI) awards.

The New Plymouth District Council’s Draft Digital District Plan – developed in conjunction with Isovist Planning – won both the award for Best Practice District/ Regional Planning Guidance and the NZPI’s supreme award, the Nancy Northcroft Award.

The Draft Digital District Plan, which was compiled directly into an e-plan, is the first of its kind in New Zealand and paves the way for other local district councils to go digital.

NZPI chief executive David Curtis says the judges drew attention to how the project “displayed innovative and creative excellence in planning and tapped into cutting-edge digital technologies in order to facilitate easier access.

“The project demonstrates a commitment to emerging technologies and how it can be used to positively impact the way planners and homeowners interact with Council. The project teams’ commitment to finding a relevant and useful solution promotes continued public interest and participation.”

Other key awards related to infrastructure planning in Curio Bay, a toolkit designed to help Maori landowners and a project plan for the Onehunga regeneration led by the Auckland Council.

Commenting at the end of NZPI’s conference in Tauranga, Curtis said the top three planning issues addressed were water quality and allocation, rapid urbanisation and the effects of growth on housing, infrastructure, and social equity, and the impact of natural hazards and climate change. Agri-food disruption, housing supply, biodiversity offsetting, new technologies and the implications of the National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity were also on the agenda.

More than 500 delegates attended the conference. In addition to planners and resource management practitioners, this included 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, tapped into the considerable learnings of international speakers who shared their insights and best-practice approaches to key issues.

NZPI 2018 Awards winners are:

Nancy Northcroft Supreme Planning Practice Award and Best Practice District/ Regional Planning

PROJECT: Building a Digital District Plan


  • New Plymouth District Council
  • Isovist Ltd

Best Practice District or Regional Plan

PROJECT: Unlock Avondale High Level Project Plan


  • Panuku Development Auckland

Best Practice Integrated Planning and Investigations

PROJECT: Curio Bay Tumu Toka Infrastructure Collaboration


  • Opus International Consultants Ltd
  • Southland District Council
  • South Catlins Charitable Trust
  • Department of Conservation

Best Practice Consultation and Participation Strategies and/or Processes

PROJECT: Manurewa Takanini Papakura integrated area plan


  • Auckland Council

Best Practice Non-Statutory Planning

PROJECT: Te Tai Tokerau Papakainga Toolkit


  • Barker & Associates
  • Far North District Council
  • Kaipara District Council
  • Northland Regional Council
  • Whangarei District Council

Rodney Davies Project Award

PROJECT: Ponsonby Countdown & Mixed-use Development (Vinegar Lane)


  • Zomac Planning Solutions Ltd
  • Progressive Enterprises Ltd
  • Isthmus Group
  • Russell McVeagh

Distinguished Service Award


  • William Thomas (Bill) Wasley

Lance Leikis NZPI Young Planner Award


  • Ying Liu

John Mawson Award of Merit


  • Associate Professor Caroline Miller
  • Dr Lee Beattie

Congratulations to all!

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New Zealand Planning Institute (NZPI)

Established in 1949, NZPI has more than 2000 members involved in strategic planning initiatives, development and implementation of urban and rural plans.

NZPI members work in cities, towns, district councils and rural areas and specialise in a variety of different disciplines for example transport, urban design or conservation.

This year’s New Zealand Planning Institute (NZPI) conference, Breaking New Ground, looked at the new technologies and fresh approaches influencing planning practice, for both growth and decline.

Speakers at the three-day event (March 21-23) included international planning expert David Dixon, global head of Agribusiness Ian Proudfoot, Victoria Planning Authority CEO Stuart Moseley, renowned researcher Richie Poulton and US neighbourhood crowdfunding platform founder Erin Barnes.

For more information, please contact:

Sumeera Dawood
Convergence Communications
M: 021 0853 8711

Vanessa White
NZPI Event Manager
M: 021 166 1802