Regional News – April 2012

Auckland – Rachel Devine

We had a great turn out to our March event, described as the “Britomart Story”.  A small group were given a walking tour of the area by Auckland Council (complete with audio via headsets).  This was followed by a well received presentation by Cooper & Co. about the heritage values of the area and the benefits of combining forces with the Council in particular areas.  Particular thanks to Peter Hall and Marijia Batistich for organising this event, hosted in Cooper & Co.’s premises and to the presenters from Cooper & Co. and the Council.

Unsurprisingly work on a presentation from Dr Smith in his role as Minister for Local Government, the Environment and Climate Change is on hold.  New invitations have been issued following the recent Cabinet reshuffle. Upcoming events include a presentation in May by Ree Anderson about the Spatial Plan and presentations from John Duiguid and Penny Pirritt about the Unitary Plan in June.  Other work streams include Young RMLA proposals and a road show event regarding expert caucusing.

Bay of Plenty – Brad Coombs

The Bay of Plenty Branch kicked off the year with a presentation, co-hosted by the New Zealand Planning Institute, from Phil Gurnsey reviewing spatial planning approaches across New Zealand on 22 March.  The presentation was followed by a panel discussion with local spatial planning experts.  The presentation was very well attended, indicating that our last two co-hosting efforts have worked well.  We are looking forward to the upcoming expert witness workshop and the rest of the Roadshows.

Waikato – Lachlan Muldowney

In March the Branch kicked off 2012 with its first event which was a presentation by Phil Gurnsey on spatial planning and RMA reforms. The presentation was co-hosted with the NZPI, was very informative and well attended by members from both institutes. The Branch appreciates the efforts of both Phil and the NZPI in delivering the presentation. We are also in the process of finalising the first national road-show for the year, which focuses on expert caucusing and is likely to be held during May. A flyer will be sent out shortly advising members of the details. In the meantime we invite members to submit suggestions for other events which they think will be of interest (hopefully with a local flavour) and which will supplement the national road-shows. If you have any ideas, please email Lachlan at lmuldowney@tomwake.co.nz or Shaun Plant at splant@tomwake.co.nz.

Taranaki – Cam Twigley

We are looking to hold an event at the recently renovated, iconic White Hart Hotel.  The event will look at the overall vision for the project, the process of accessing heritage funding and archaeological finds amongst other things.  We are also very keen to hold the Expert Conferencing roadshow in the next few months.  

Wellington – James Gardner-Hopkins

On Tuesday 20 March RMLA’s Wellington Branch hosted its 2012 Launch Function.  Despite rather miserable weather, the event was a great success, with over 70 attendees braving the rain to come to the event at The Grand on Courtenay Place.  Drinks and nibbles were on the Branch, with 3 bar tab spot prizes also given away that evening.  The Wellington Branch’s Committee was thrilled to see a diverse range of disciplines and sectors represented at the event.  We are excited by the prospect of engaging further with Wellington’s RM community at future events.  

Looking ahead, the Wellington Branch’s next event is an Ocean Governance Seminar on Tuesday 17 April presented by James Gardner-Hopkins (Russell McVeagh), Paul Beverley (Buddle Findlay) and Robert Makgill (North South Environmental Law). Interested persons can RSVP by registering online at www.rmla.org.nz/events by 10 April.  Future events will include a Young RMLA “Meet the Judiciary” function, and matters on the National Roadshow.  

I would also like to thank the outgoing Chairperson, Angela Rego, for all her hard work over the last few years.  This year’s Branch Committee look forward to making it a memorable 2012.

Canterbury – Andy Carr

The first meeting of the year for the Canterbury branch was a combined AGM and social get-together in March. Neither David Caldwell (Chair) and Philip Maw (Treasurer) sought re-appointment and their positions were filled by Andy Carr and Michelle Abernethy respectively with Daniel Murray agreeing to continue his exceptional work as Secretary. Special thanks to David and Philip for their invaluable contributions to the success of the branch over the past few years, and fortunately we do not lose the benefit of their skills and abilities as both have kindly agreed to remain on the committee, along with Gerard Cleary, Amanda Douglas, Sarah Eveleigh and Jane Walsh. 

We’ve already started developing a programme for the year, and will be in touch with our local members shortly.  However given the somewhat unique circumstances, our clear focus for the year will be upon supporting our people as they grapple with new and unusual challenges for effective, post-earthquake resource management in the region.  One initiative is already well underway – an online questionnaire for all local members to have their say on how the branch can improve in meeting their needs.

Otago/Southland – Chris Thomsen

It has been a busy start to the year in the South.  There seems to be increased activity in and around Dunedin, as well as the wider Otago and Southland area, which is pleasing.

The Branch hosted a seminar examining the challenging issue of policy framework for the earthquake strengthening of heritage buildings.  We were pleased with the excellent response to the seminar.  Along with useful insights into the present thinking by the statutory authorities responsible for heritage in Dunedin, the three speakers’ varied (and at times provocative in one case) views were well received.

The Branch is working with the National Committee to bring a roadshow on expert witness caucusing to town, hopefully, in the first half of the year.  Further details will be provided in due course but please keep it in mind.

Queenstown/Central Otago – Robert Makgill

The RMLA 2012 Conference (27-29 September) programme planning is well underway and will involve plenary sessions, some specialist workshops and field trips. We are working hard to ensure all attendees get to fully experience our physical environment while they are here and that they also enjoy the various social and sporting events we will have on offer. More details will follow shortly.

Members are reminded that the conference falls in the last week of the third school term and coincides with the end of the ski season. This is a great opportunity to tie in your conference attendance with a family break. We recommend that you start booking your flights and accommodation to make the most of advance booking deals.