New Zealand raised, New York based Landscape Architect Steven Tupu believes many of the discussions being had within the profession here in Aotearoa mirror those happening in the communities he’s working in.
Steven was the first presenter on day one of the 2021 NZILA Firth Conference in Tauranga yesterday.
He is the founding Principal of Terrain in NYC and his conference presentation yesterday focussed on collaboration and partnership.
“The thing that was really powerful today was the connection and the acknowledgement of local Maori community and culture and how important that is for all the projects happening here. It reminded me of the importance of engaging our communities in all of our projects,” he said.
“For me there was a lot of resonance about what is happening here in New Zealand and our work in the U.S.”
Delegates spoken to last night agree it was good to be back at a conference after Covid-19 forced he cancellation of last year’s event.
Emma Taylor of Boffa Miskell in Dunedin said “ the emerging theme of engagement and communication in the first sessions was fantastic to see - as change makers engagement is so key to the success of our projects, landscapes and spaces we create .”
For Auckland NZILA Branch chair Matt Jones of Isthmus is was good to be together celebrating the profession.
“There was a great calibre of speakers on day one. I was intrigued by the presentations around social influence and challenges of indigenous peoples. Anita Bakshi was really interesting and it was awesome to have Steven Tupu here in person! “
Adrian Morton of Adrian Morton Landscape Architect agreed.
“it’s a really good thing having those speakers (from the northern hemisphere) because it does bring in a new viewpoint but there are also similarities and similar struggles we are facing in our work when it comes to environmental issues.”
Anita Bakshi presented via live stream from the U.S yesterday afternoon. Her presentation was entitled
”Understanding the American Settler Colonial Landscape - Our Land, Our Stories.”
Anita Bakshi is Assistant Professor of Teaching in the Department of Landscape Architecture at Rutgers University, where she teaches courses on Housing and Open Space Design, Visualization, and Research Methods.
Dr Hannah Hopewell is the chair of the creative panel which shaped the content of this year’s conference.
She says for her the opening powhiri and following tribute to Megan Wraight who died last year were very powerful.
“The powhiri set an attentive atmosphere and demonstrated deep value in being together across difference, which at this time when most of the world cannot, felt especially meaningful.
“It was very special to hear the rich words of both Di Lucas and Nicole Thompson in honour of Megan and her contribution to Landscape Architecture. We were reminded of not only Megan’s outstanding talent and impact, but the remarkable precedent she has set for women in discipline.”