Justine Bray addresses last year's conference

For the third year, WSP has been named as Platinum Sponsor of the 2023 NZPI conference (overall sponsor).

WSP New Zealand 

A listed, global organisation headquartered in Montreal, Canada, the New Zealand arm has 36 offices and over 2,000 experts engaged in some of the most complex and interesting work in the country. WSP has been present in Aotearoa (under various names) since 1870.

But what lies behind the clear success of this titan of planning and industry? A real focus on the future, and leading clients to achieve success, says national Technical Principal – Planning for WSP Justine Bray.

We asked Justine, what makes WSP tick?

Justine: Our philosophy is centred on helping clients see the future more clearly and designing for it today. What we create today needs to stand the test of time – 20, 50 or 100 years from now.
We know there are big changes coming – for instance: climate change and an ageing population. So how can we be ready for that? How do we prepare ourselves, our country and our clients for what that could mean?

Planners are changemakers. Planning is all about change and initiating change. At WSP we do this in several areas, particularly in the policy development space, and help clients navigate their way through change, and anticipate future change.

What are the issues that are top of mind for planners then?

Justine: Clearly, the legislative changes that are happening, including in the resource management area. There are a lot of dots to join. It’s an exciting time to be a planner, that’s for sure.

How do you think that WSP’s global presence helps both clients and the WSP team itself?

Justine: We can reach out to over 55,000 global experts in the WSP network to learn quickly about what’s happening internationally. We can learn fast about projects that our international colleagues may be solving (or have already solved). They may be well on the way to solving a problem we’re only just beginning to look at now. We work together to find solutions both to common global challenges and those specific to tailored local solutions.

WSP is constantly looking to the future. We will be delivering the keynote speaker for NZPI’s conference next year via a blended team of local and international expertise. Giles Perkins, who heads WSP’s UK Future Mobility team and looks at transport planning and transport intelligence will present with Rachel Lawson, our local Head of Planning, on what the return to localism means for rural communities - building on from the 20 Minute City initiative. Our previous keynote speaker was David Symons, also from the UK, who shared our expertise on key global mega trends and how they have the potential to impact our future.

We’re always searching for solutions for tomorrow.

What makes WSP unique do you think?

Justine: It’s just a great team of people to work for. We love what we do. We pride ourselves on our ability to communicate and ask questions – understanding and listening to our clients’ needs.

As planners, we’re very solution focused. We’re able to pick out and understand technical advice and information, putting it all together. It’s a key skill - being able to absorb and digest a vast array of technical information.

And we put a future lens over everything. That’s what good planning is about. It’s core to our philosophy at WSP - looking towards solutions for the future.

In Aotearoa, we also put a strong tikanga Māori lens over everything. Reg Proffit who is the Chair of NZPI, is Director Pou Arataki (Māori) at WSP. This is a significant focus area for us –incorporating Māori values and te Ao Māori into everything we do.

NZPI’s recommendation: Watch out for WSP’s work on St Clair to St Kilda Coastal Plan Project Whakahekerau Rakiātea Rautaki Tai. It’s interesting and innovative!

Dunedin’s St Clair to St Kilda coastal stretch.