Kei aku nui, kei aku rahi tēnā koutou katoa

I want to acknowledge our communities and our membership in areas of Aotearoa New Zealand who live and work in areas that have been hit hard by extreme weather events. This has been a testing time through Cyclone Hale and more recently Cyclone Gabrielle and now into the recovery phase. For us in Te Tairawhiti it has drawn greater focus to our resilience and how we can support our communities in recovery but also looking forward to our future. Given the events there is significant focus on challenging the land use management thinking of yesterday, with the land use management thinking needed for the future, when facing increasing frequency and severity of weather events, resilience of infrastructure, localised geology, economic security and at-risk communities.

A challenge – in which we as planners will need to play a key role. As learnt from those who lived through the Ōtautahi/Christchurch and Kaikoura events, the recovery will take many years. To those personally affected, I send my aroha.

Kia Hīkina te Mānuka – Rise up to the challenge, the theme of our 2023 conference in Ōtautahi, was extremely on point. It was a great conference at the fantastic Te Pae Convention Centre with over 800 attendees who were exposed to some amazing local and international speakers and topics that were extremely relevant. Particular mention to our Emerging Planners and Papa Pounamu, Special Interest Groups, and the fantastic events they ran and the wonderful contribution made to the whole conference event. During conference the NZPI board took the opportunity to engage with those attending and also held an in-person Board meeting on the 19th of April.

Our meeting began with a reflection on our NZPI conference, with planners across Aotearoa coming together for the first time in two years following the postponement of conference in 2022. The board agreed that the committee and staff and NZPI head office had done a fantastic job in hosting the event and we were encouraged by the number of practitioners who attended from across the country. We’ve had great feedback from attendees, and many of our sponsors have already told us that conference was a fantastic experience, with some looking ahead to our next conference in the Waikato (20th–22nd March) in 2024.

I was honoured to attend, with many others, the pōwhiri at Rehua marae with Ngāi Tūāhuriri and then to present the NZPI Awards for 2023. I also welcomed two new Fellows, Gina Sweetman and Craig Mallett, and to present our most prestigious planning acknowledgement, the Gold Medal, to Dr Caroline Millar for her outstanding contribution to planning in Aotearoa New Zealand.

We decided to postpone our annual AGM to a yet to be confirmed date in June 2023. Due to new reporting obligations for charities and incorporated societies we have taken more time this year to complete a new audit requirement, our Statement of Service Performance, which led to a delay in the release of the 2022 Annual Report

Strategic Decisions and Actions

The Board discussed the work underway around RM reform and the positions NZPI currently hold through the reform process. We see the importance of maintaining membership engagement as seen through the RM Reform roadshows with RMLA, the work of Emily Grace (NZPI Principal Policy Advisor) in the submissions lodged on the two reform Bills, the contribution of the RM Advisory Group and the work of Gina in the role of NZPI Consultant Chief Advisor to MFE. Central to our contributions is bringing our practitioners expertise to how the proposed legislation is to be implemented. The Environment Committee will report back to Parliament on the Bills on the 27th of June.

Operational Decisions and Actions

Our first Statement of Service Performance is almost complete. This statement has objectives to achieve our korowai (vision). These sit under our Pou (strategic pillars); Advocacy, Championing, Thought Leadership, Education and Membership, all of which are underpinned by a Board that is well governed and decisions are made by executive members who continue to upskill and are respected by the membership. The Statement of Service performance must also include performance measures around how we worked toward achieving these objectives in 2022. This work is almost complete and will be included in our soon to be released Annual Report for 2022.

The Board also discussed the annual Awards programme and ideas around a refresh of this process. The Board considered whether new areas of excellence should be included in our awards programme and what the awards will look like going forward. These discussions are ongoing.

David Curtis, Emily Grace (NZPI’s Principal Policy Advisor) and I attending the PIA conference in Adelaide this week. We hope to continue to forge our connections with our colleagues in Australia, PIA and CAP (Commonwealth Association of Planners). We also hope to return with new insights into policy and practice in Australia, which will no doubt be valuable as we await the next select committee updates and announcements from Government.

Our next Board meeting will be the 20th – 21st July.

Mauri ora
Reginald Proffit