Director - Pou Arataki, WSP NZ Ltd.

BSocSc (Hons) PG Dip Resource & Environmental Planning
Director Pou Arataki for WSP

Ehara taku maunga a Hikurangi he maunga nekeneke, he maunga tu tonu.
Ko toku kingitanga no tuawhakarere, no toku matua tipuna, no te po mai rano.

The planning profession in Aotearoa New Zealand plays a critically important role in the way we as New Zealanders; enjoy, experience, interact with ‘our place’, and define a pathway forward for our future and a future for those still to come.

I have a long serving commitment to the planning profession. I served as Chair of the NZPI Board from 2021 – 2024 and I have been on the Board for the past six years. I have been a steadfast advocate for greater representation and inclusion of Māori and kaupapa Māori within New Zealand planning, the profession and NZPI and I am honoured to take up the Te Ao Māori seat on the NZPI Board.

I am incredibly humbled by the positive change that has been affected to date within the NZPI and the planning profession in Aotearoa. As a founding member and founding Chair of Papa Pounamu and previously ex-offico member of the NZPI Board, the defining of a vision for change, the sometimes hard battles had and won, to now see the strengths and achievements attained, has been especially pleasing. Saying this, we continue to look for improvements.

My current role, based out of WSP’s Gisborne office in Tai Rawhiti is Pou Arataki – Director Māori. I lead the execution of WSP’s Rautaki Māori (Māori Strategy). I provide strategic direction on how WSP will integrate Te Ao Māori, including Te Reo Māori, into the organisation and the work it produces, and how it will work with Māori to support them to achieve their aspirations.

The past three years have been a very busy time for all planners going through the process of reform, the time and energy invested has been considerable both by individuals and NZPI. The next three years look just as busy with further reform, adjusting to the new government direction, integrating national direction and representing NZPI and members at all levels, regional, national and international frame.

With all that has been achieved to date, more change is in front of us, and much more needs to be done. We need to be true to ourselves and recognise the truth and the struggle of our tipuna. As a planning professional I believe we need to be addressing these here and now changes, with an eye on where our future needs to be, mindful of the parts that make us who we are and where we come from.

The greater recognition and need to work with and increasingly within, a Te Ao Māori frame, is a key differentiator for Aotearoa New Zealand. Something where we as planning professionals need to challenge ourselves and the status quo. We must show we are far beyond the ‘tick the box’ mentality. We must face the challenges, take up and embrace these challenges for the profession and planning practice, to grow our capabilities so that we can better serve our communities.

To continue to be part of this is exciting, and I am committed to bring continual positive change for planning and the planning profession.