PHOTO | Sri Hall, Vanessa Mannix (recipient of 2021 Scholarship) and Reginald Proffit when Vanessa started her internship at WSP.

WSP, our platinum sponsor for NZPI Conference 2023, have been sponsoring NZPI’s Papa Pounamu Whakatutukitanga Scholarship for four years. Some might say it’s been four long years with the postponement of conference and a shift to presenting awards and scholarships online due to the pandemic. Despite the challenges, WSP have continued their enduring support for NZPI, with a particular focus on supporting Māori planners entering the planning profession.

The Papa Pounamu Whakatutukitanga Scholarship is awarded annually to a student studying an NZPI accredited planning degree at the undergraduate or post-graduate level. It recognises excellence and attainment by a student planner involved in Māori planning in an environmental framework.

Our 2022 recipient of the award, Te Riria Potiki (Ngāti Pāhauwera, Ngāi Tahu/Kāi Tahu and Ngāi Tūhoe), exemplifies what the award is about. Te Riria is a graduate of Waikato University’s Bachelor of Environmental Planning (Te Ara Taiao: Maori and the Environment). Te Riria has recently been working on the Te Ture Whaimana revision – a long term vision and strategy for the Waikato River, which is reviewed every five to ten years. She’s enjoyed this experience and comments, “with all the changes in the resource management system and co-governance structures, it’s cool to see te ao Māori being acknowledged”.

The scholarship has helped Te Ririra, who would ultimately like to specialise in co-governance policy and iwi engagement, make valuable industry connections. In a recent interview Te Riria has said,

“My experience with the Scholarship has been really positive; the people I’ve met and connections I’ve made at WSP and NZPI. There are limited numbers of Māori in environmental planning degrees, so I definitely encourage others to take the opportunity.”

Vanessa Mannix, whakapapa to Te Rūnanga o Waihōpai and Te Rūnanga o Ōraka Aparima, (Ngāi Tahu) is a graduate planner working in WSP’s Canterbury office. She’s another of WSP’s cohort of recipients of the Papa Pounamu Whakatutukitanga Scholarship. Vanessa completed her enjoyable summer internship with WSP over four months from November 2021 to February 2022. In this same year Vanessa was also awarded the Boffa Miskell Prize for Planning. Vanessa has now completed her Bachelor of Environmental Policy and Planning with honours and is excited to be starting her first full time position as a graduate resource management planner at WSP.

Vanessa says her internship was a motivating and rewarding experience, and that working with WSP is “so much fun”. She’s excited that the scholarship has led into her first full time role in Otautahi / Christchurch. Vanessa is looking forward to continuing her interest in how planning can be considered through the Māori as well as western perspective of sustainability, enabling plans and policies around sustainability to become more holistic and inclusive of Māori views.

“Receiving the Papa Pounamu Whakatutukitanga Scholarship as a student allowed me to utilise the skills I learnt at University and gain some real world experience as a Planner. This Scholarship not only allowed me to meet some amazing people at WSP and NZPI, but has also led me to gain a job as a Graduate Planner at WSP” says Vanessa.

“I couldn’t recommend applying for this Scholarship enough as it offers so much opportunity to expand your knowledge and experience. Get amongst it!

Applications for the Papa Pounamu Whakatutukitanga Scholarship close at 5pm on Friday 10th February. The scholarship will be awarded at the Welcome Function at #NZPIC23 on April 19th. WSP are also our platinum sponsor for the 2023 NZPI Conference. 

For more about this scholarship and eligibility criteria DOWNLOAD HERE and apply.