Celebration, connection, and carbon at New Zealand Landscape Architects Conference

The 2022 Tuia Pito Ora New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects Firth Conference, held 11-13 October in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, was the scene of great celebration, connection, and looking ahead as an industry.
Marking the 50th anniversary of the New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects, the conference theme was “Kia whakatomuri te haere whakamua” - walking backwards into the future, with eyes fixed on the past.

Home of the Resene NZILA Awards, the conference saw Craig Pocock - Principal Landscape Architect at Beca Design Practice, awarded a prestigious President’s Award for recognition in International Achievement – Carbon Landscape. This award was an acknowledgment of Craig’s years of passion and mahi to champion “The Carbon Landscape” kaupapa, in Aotearoa and around the globe - most particularly at the recent 58th International Federation of Landscape Architects World Congress Gwangju 2022, in South Korea.

Figure 1 - Craig Pocock delivering his keynote address on The Carbon Landscape at the NZILA conference

Craig’s innovative research work on ‘The Carbon Footprint of Urban Rain Gardens’, with Shayne Noronha, was also recognised with the Award of Excellence in ‘Research and Communication’. An excerpt from the judges’ citation notes “Through revealing the realities of urban rain gardens, the project reminds the profession of its responsibilities to not accept prevailing approaches uncritically. Such thorough analysis is vital for robust understanding, and not only does the project identify the serious issues with business-as-usual approaches, it also offers potential ways of thinking through how to better design rain gardens.”

Continuing the theme, and keeping carbon centre stage, Craig delivered the final keynote of the conference on the Carbon Landscape. This included recent carbon research on green infrastructure, an estimated carbon cost of the next stage of the Wynyard Quarter in Auckland, and the 10 steps needed to decarbonise the industry.

“Receiving the President’s Award for the Carbon Landscape, and Award of Excellence in Research and Communication, together with the opportunity to deliver the keynote address to close out the conference was a great honour and a privilege,” says Craig Pocock.

“The Carbon Landscape not only reflects kaitiaki values unique to Aotearoa New Zealand, but is an original idea about two decades ahead of its time. The carbon reality is that most urban spaces, public realm and even rain gardens we design, come with a significant carbon debt that is unsustainable. While it can be sometimes a challenging conversation to have with the industry, it was well received at the NZILA conference.”

Figure 2 - Pictured front row from left at the NZILA awards; Craig Pocock (Principal Landscape Architect at Beca Design Practice), Ngapera Moeahu-Teitinga and Tim Mason from the Parihaka Papakainga community, and Rupert Hodson (Beca Northern Regional Manager).

Back row from left, from our Beca Design Practice; Wade Robertson (Practice Lead), Julie Marshall (Section Administrator), Annette Jones (Senior Technical Director - Urban Design), Chris Judd (Senior Landscape Architect) and George Woolford (Manager - Urban Design & Landscape Architecture).

Capping off the conference and awards in fantastic fashion, Craig and the Beca Design Practice team, accompanied by honoured guests Tim Mason and Ngapera Moeahu-Teitanga from the Parihaka Papakainga community, received the Award of Excellence in the ‘Master Planning and Urban Design Strategy’ category for Te Mahere Aranga Tuatoru - the 30-year overall plan for Parihaka.

It was the further great distinction of Te Mahere Aranga Tuatoru to win the supreme ‘Te Karanga o te Tui’ award. This was special recognition of Beca and mana whenua working together and planning sustainably. One of only three supreme awards given out once every two years, to win is a significant industry recognition.

“The [Te Mahere Aranga Tuatoru] plan is not about us, it’s about the future, and what Parihaka will look like in the future… It’s about the people making decisions for the people. He mana tō te whenua, he mana tō te tangata. The land has its own mana, the people have their own mana,” says Ngapera Moeahu-Teitinga.

“One of the beneficial things, is seeing the future on the plan, with every area mapped out, including the educational strategy, and where we can bring in schools and groups... It’s about capturing those stories for the next generation. It’s been a great journey, and now it is time to get on with the mahi!”

Judges noted “The ethos of a co-developed engagement process is at the core of the Parihaka Papakainga Trust plan which provides a spirited and meaningful vision. There is a strong feeling of the project landscape architect’s commitment to place, to becoming immersed within the Parihaka community and to becoming a trusted advisor.”

Congratulations again to Tim Mason, Ngapera Moeahu-Teitanga and the Parihaka Papakainga community, and to the many other award recipients, recognised life members, speakers, and representatives of the New Zealand landscape profession at the conference.

For more, visit - '2022 Tuia Pito Ora New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects Firth Conference'
See also October 2022