Nancy Northcroft receives the Institute Gold Medal Award from NZPI President Rod Davies

The NZPI / Te Kokiringa Taumata Planning awards have been celebrating excellence in planning since 1964. The awards are held every year to encourage, showcase and acknowledge the best of planning practice in New Zealand. They’re our opportunity to come together as a profession and acknowledge our proud history of planning in Aotearoa.

Our awards are broad and inclusive, recognising Best Practice in planning across five categories. From the winners of each category the Best Practice in Planning is awarded each year in memory of Nancy Northcroft. Looking at those who’ve shaped planning in New Zealand is an important part of looking ahead to the future of the profession. Here’s a little about Nancy…..

Who is Nancy Northcroft?

Anna Holmes Northcroft, known as Nancy, was born in Hamilton on 23 March 1913. She was discouraged from her first choice of law as a career by her father, also a barrister, who was concerned at the opposition a female lawyer might encounter. Instead she studied architecture, and showed an early interest in town planning.

Despite the onset of WWII, Nancy took up a scholarship and went to Britain to study local-body housing. She stayed on in England and joined the Association for Planning and Regional Reconstruction, which ran correspondence courses in town planning for members of the Allied forces. Her time in Britain exposed her to new ideas, allowing her to relate her architectural training to the broader concerns of planning, and her aspiration to create pleasant and liveable communities.

Throughout her career Nancy took a strong interest in the development and advancement of her profession. Her interest in education led to her becoming external assessor for the diploma in town planning. She was the first woman president of the NZ Town and County Planning Institute (1967 to 1969) and is remembered by many for having encouraged them to enter the planning profession or to obtain appropriate qualifications. In 1978 she was awarded the New Zealand Planning Institute’s first Gold Medal and in 1994 the NZPI established the Nancy Northcroft Planning Practice Award.

Who will be the next recipient of the Nancy Northcroft Best Practice Award?

This years’ nominations for Best Practice are strong, with 19 nominations across the five categories. Each category is well represented, and nominations for projects of excellence are evenly spread across the country.

It’s an exciting time in planning with considerable legislative reform on the immediate horizon. This may just be the most important time to celebrate achievements in planning, and it’s all happening next week.

To find out this year’s winners and celebrate with your peers REGISTER HERE now for your local in-person branch event or register to attend our special livestream event on Wednesday 28th September, 5:30pm, chaired by our very own NZPI Chair Reg Proffit.