Ahu Ake: Moving Waipa forward

SESSION: Thursday 21st March, 4:40pm - 5:10pm
Vanessa Honore, Ben Petch & Kirsty Downey

In 2020 Waipā District Council began work on Ahu Ake, Waipā's Community Spatial Plan, a plan about securing a desired future for the district, its places and communities. The process saw Council better connect with residents and build stronger partnerships with Mana Whenua.

As resource management, water and local government reform takes many planning decisions to a regional scale and reshapes the role of councils, plans like Ahu Ake are a way communities can respond and advocate for their places so that a regionalised planning system doesn't overshadow local voice and place shaping.

We will cover:

  • Partnerships that built Ahu Ake. The process and tools used to build the partnership-based decision making, and what could have been improved.
  • Scenarios used to explore long term decision making. The pros and cons of the approach taken. See how StoryMaps turned a technical evidence base into an approachable engagement tool (awarded at the Asia Pacific Spatial Excellence Awards 2022 & 2023).
  • How partners worked on possible future scenarios. The factors that led to a partnership workshop and an agreed way forward. How mātauranga Māori was applied and the key moves that form the plan.
  • Co-designing with broad community engagement, and the future residents of Waipā. Following comprehensive place-based community engagement, the next round is a World Café with a group representing future residents of Waipā.
  • Implementation focusing on places. Ahu Ake focuses Council's investment planning on places. It dovetails with the LTP process, from business case preparation to outcomes monitoring. We will review change management learnings.

See websites https://www.ahuakewaipa.nz/ and SocialPinpoint https://haveyoursaywaipa.mysocialpinpoint.com/ahu-ake#/

Presented By

Vanessa Honore

Principal Strategic Planner, Waipa District Council

With her childhood split between French Guyana and south-west France, Vanessa retains a passion for the environment and travel. It was in Scotland in 2010 when she transitioned from being an ecologist to studying Planning at Edinburgh University. In 2018, she shifted halfway around the world to take up a planning position with AECOM. After receiving an NZPI award for the Pirongia Town Concept Plan, Vanessa joined Waipā District Council in 2021 to head up Ahu Ake, Waipā's first Community Spatial

Ben Petch
Urban Planner, Director, InPlace

Planning isn’t a solo act; it is better together! Ben founded InPlace to help people make places great. As a planner, engager, and project management professional he helps communities set a vision and agree how to do it – like in Ahu Ake. Ben does this through strategy, policies, and technical leadership to create plans that get delivered. His 18-year career spans Canada and New Zealand in senior consultancy roles. He lives in Kirikiriroa-Hamilton with his family and works across New Zealand.

Kirsty Downey
Group Manager Strategy, Waipa District Council

As GM Strategy at Waipā District Council, Kirsty is the project owner of Ahu Ake - Waipā Community Spatial Plan, winner of the Community Impact Award at the Asia-Pacific Spatial Excellence Awards in 2022. With 25 years experience in legal and executive roles in local government, Kirsty is passionate about bringing to life the Council’s vision to build connected communities and is incredibly proud of the way in which the plan has been developed in partnership with Mana Whenua and Iwi.