The NZPI Board held their final meeting before leading into the 2024 AGM next week. With momentum to drive forward the work of the outgoing Board, the discussion was focused on transition and on welcoming the new NZPI Board Chair Andrea Harris. We wanted to share more with you about Andrea.

A DSA recipient with over 30 years working in the planning profession, Andrea is widely recognised for her contribution. She began her planning career at Horizons (the then Manawatū Whanganui Regional Council) and worked in the policy team for a decade. She’s spent the last 20 years with WSP, remaining in her home town of Palmerston North. She says that although she’s only had two employers, her experience has been vast and she’s had constant variety in her work. Her current role is Technical Principal – Planning, and she’s a leader in WSP’s regional business. In this role she’s committed to keeping WSP’s planners abreast of the latest changes in legislation and elevating technical practice. “I take a lot of satisfaction in seeing others grow” says Andrea, presenting regularly on planning matters and providing an internal forum for inquiry and learning within the company.

Andrea’s commitment to learning extends beyond WSP. She’s been heavily involved in District Plan reviews in Palmerston North and Manawatu, where she’s provided technical expertise and mentoring to Council planners. She is also an active presenter at Massey University and up until her appointment as NZPI Chair, has been a member of the University Resource and Environmental Planning Consultative Committee. As a Massey University Student Andrea was inspired by planning practitioners who came in to speak to students and has always wanted to provide that inspiration to the next generation of planners. She’s provided content and direction to the current degree and is stepping down now to ensure that there’s no conflict of interest with her new Board role.

Her new position as Chair of Te Kōkiringa Taumata I New Zealand Planning Institute Board follows many years of service to NZPI. Since 2007, Andrea has served as a committee member and Chair in the Central North Island Branch Committee. She was one of the first Chairs to be on the Planning Advisory Committee and remained an active member until she was elected to the board in 2018. Andrea has served as Membership Convenor for NZPI, is part of the NZPI Awards judging panel and is current co-chair of the Resource Management Advisory Group. During her tenure as board member, she has appeared before the select committee on behalf of the Institute as part of the resource management reform, and constantly advocates for members.

As incoming Chair, Andrea is excited to expand on communications between the NZPI Board and its members. She says the new Board representatives have had the opportunity to shadow the outgoing members and understand the strategic direction and work programme, which is particularly important when resource management reform is moving at pace. She doesn’t want to see the Board lose momentum at such a critical time and believes it’s important that the Institute is a voice for the profession through reform.

Andrea will provide regular updates to members. The Board meeting last Friday covered operational matters including a report back on Andrea’s visit to Minneapolis to attend the National Planning Conference of the American Planning Association (APA) where she was joined by CEO David Curtis. The meeting also included preparation for next week’s AGM, and important transitional discussions around board process and procedures, strategic and operational planning, financial reporting and an update on the Equity Diversity and Inclusion work programme.

The Board also acknowledged the important work being undertaken by the Resource Management Advisory Group (RMAG), some of whom aren’t board members and donate their time voluntarily. This work is significant in supporting NZPI’s policy programme and members of RMAG will report back to members on their RM Reform Session at conference ….in a Reform Update with RMAG session on the 20th of May. Register for this webinar HERE.

Andrea is planning to host an online conversation with members at the end of this month where she will report back on her learnings from the APA conference and her self-described experience of ‘planning in the wild’. She’s looking forward to the term ahead saying that while the tension planners often face is the balancing of conflicting demands in the short term, planners are in it for the long game.