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Nothing can be achieved without a plan

Posted 29 05 2024

in News

Image: uploads/2024_05/041A4784-416_Pto1xEc.jpg
Authored by Dr Alayna Rā

Tē tōia, tē haumatia.
Nothing can be achieved without a plan, workforce and way of doing things.

It was an honour to receive the Tuia Pito Ora (NZILA) President's Award for my mahi in Te Ao Māori last fortnight in Te Whanganui-a-Tara and to also give part of the opening kōrero for the 2024 Wānanga conference alongside mana whenua (kā mihi Hana Buchanan and Joe Buchanan) and our President Debbie Tikao and Vice President John Potter

Whilst I'm super appreciative of the award, it truly is a reflection of the amazing people around me who tautoko the kaupapa of shifting the dial on how built environment professions engage with whakaaro Māori for the betterment of te taiao and our nation.

Our māreikura crew at WSP in New Zealand aren't just my rock, my sounding board and my safe space. As the next generation of Māori design professionals, they are my motivation.

Image: uploads/2024_05/041A4760-394_TBFx5jG.jpg

Population forecasts are projecting that one in three children in Aotearoa are likely to identify as tamariki Māori by the early 2040s. Those tamariki are growing up with Te Reo, are proud to stand in their whakapapa, and are unapologetic about their commitment to the health of the environment. They might be your student interns and graduates today, but they are our future leaders. They will take on seats in governance, alliance boards, and will lead major projects. They will be commissioners in the environment court and be the approvers of your planning consents. Their values will shape our nation and redefine what built environment outcomes look like. And, they'll be in great company whilst they're at it, as the remaining two thirds of the population will include large numbers whānau whānui, our extended family of Pasifika brothers and sisters, who are escaping rising sea levels despite contributing so little to our climate crisis.

Those future built environment professionals are going to have a lot of 'cleaning up' to do. Repurposing. Reconfiguring. Replanting. Recycling. Rebuilding. They're going to be busy cleaning up a mess that generations of private and public developers, engineers, and designers have allowed to exist.

A massive part of my mahi is driving as much social change as I can, so it's one less thing for those future leaders to worry about, whilst nurturing the kōhanga or nest that they're in whilst on their career journey.

So, thank you Tuia Pito Ora, for recognising that mahi. It's certainly been a wild two decades of being a landscape architect. We've come so far, but there's also so much further still to go and the 2024 Wānanga conference provided a great platform for continuing those conversations.