Celebrating multiple awards at the 2024 New Zealand Planning Institute Awards

At this year’s prestigious New Zealand Planning Institute (NZPI) Awards, Beca proudly celebrates award wins and commendations with Auckland Transport, Waipā District Council and Auckland Council.

The NZPI awards recognise the crucial role planners have in shaping our communities and celebrate the exceptional projects they lead across the country.

The NZPI Best Practice Awards were received by:

  • Auckland Transport for ‘Planning for Inclusive Communities and Health and Wellbeing’ for their community engagement on pedestrian level crossing removal at Homai Station.
  • Waipā District Council for ‘Digital Tools’ for their work on Ahu Ake Waipā Community Spatial Plan.
  • Auckland Council was highly commended for ‘Statutory Planning’ with the regionwide global consent for the Fish Passage Remediation programme of works.

More about the NZPI Best Practice Award wins

Auckland Transport, Planning for Inclusive Communities and Health and Wellbeing

As part of the first stage of their Level Crossing Removal Programme, Auckland Transport is planning to remove seven pedestrian-only level crossings. This includes two at Homai Train Station, an area encompassing a diverse community of people, including those from the adjacent blind and low vision campus. Recognising this diversity, Auckland Transport collaborated with us to integrate digital tools into the community engagement and consultation process.

Together, we strengthened traditional consultation methods. A 3D model provided a tactile experience for blind and low vision groups to interact with, helping them to better understand the proposed changes through physical touch. Virtual reality technology provided planners with a perspective from the height of a wheelchair, allowing them to visualise the station experience for members of the community. Meanwhile automated voice announcements provided accessible information for the blind and low vision students.

Waipā District Council, Digital Tools

Ahu Ake, Waipā’s first Community Spatial Plan, maps out a 30-year investment strategy addressing rapid growth by integrating environment, economy, development, and infrastructure planning. It steers future initiatives, including the Transport Strategy and District Plan.

Ahu Ake’s development was spearheaded by a dedicated team of Council staff with consultant support from Beca, Inplace and Maximize Consulting. The multi-disciplinary team included executive leadership, strategic planning, communications, Mana Whenua/Iwi partnerships, and Geographic Information Systems, alongside Council’s asset management function. The project deployed ArcGIS Storymaps to test possible future scenarios with partners and stakeholders, and Council toured the district to hear from small and large communities. With Ahu Ake, Council engaged with the community like never before, strongly guided by collaborative decisions with Mana Whenua/Iwi.

Auckland Council, highly commended in Statutory Planning

Auckland Council’s Healthy Waters fish passage remediation programme focuses on the need to improve streams across the region by removing instream barriers for our native fish species. As most individual projects require resource consent to implement, Healthy Waters sought a 35-year regionwide consent that provides for a range of activities without the need to obtain individual consents for each project. This is expected to provide significant cost and efficiency savings and allow the programme to proceed with flexibility, whilst enabling appropriate oversight by mana whenua and Council compliance.

The shift of many infrastructure providers towards larger-scale programmes of work facilitates the need for timely and flexible implementation of widespread activities, while avoiding the excessive costs and delays, common in individual project consents. The development of this application – through collaboration with stakeholders and the Council’s regulatory arm – highlights excellent statutory planning practices to ultimately enable the environmental and community outcomes sought.

Celebrating shared achievements at the NZPI Awards, Beca congratulates partners Auckland Transport, Waipā District Council, and Auckland Council on their wins and commendations.