Our latest on developments, innovations and methodologies in planning, design, landscape planning, sciences, cultural heritage, graphics and mapping.


Be Bold: Connecting recreation and ecology

Adding ameneties to suburban green spaces can make a difference to the well-being of ourselves and of the planet.

30 September 2020

Be Bold: Lessons learned from getting projects built

The biggest challenge around getting projects built is that when it’s done right, the end result belies the complexity of the effort. If it looks easy... invariably, it isn't.

25 August 2020

Be Bold: Lessons learned from our work in Small Towns

Call them ‘small towns’ or ‘regional centres’ — these quiet communities dotted across the country hold a wealth of New Zealand’s history and character. But their populations and economies are shrinking.

21 May 2020

Be Bold: Lessons learned from Infrastructure Projects

As the phrase “shovel-ready” enters New Zealand’s vocabulary, it’s worth pausing to think about what that adjective really means.

29 April 2020

Social procurement: an opportunity for lasting impact

Put simply, social procurement is intentionally purchasing goods or services to generate people-focused benefits that extend beyond the goods and services required.

7 January 2020

Playground Planet

Waterview Playground began as an award-winning collaborative process between the designers and the local children.

10 September 2019

Whitianga Town Centre Upgrade

Giving this iconic holiday destination a long-awaited upgrade was a community effort and a shared success.

16 August 2019

The changing face of senior living

With life expectancy continuing to rise, and evolving views on what life after retirement looks like, it’s no wonder that today’s aged-care residences are a far cry from those of twenty, or even ten, years ago.

18 July 2019

Getting Ready for AC36

Just as the 2011 Rugby World Cup was the catalyst for many public realm improvements in Auckland City Centre and along the Waterfront, New Zealand's next opportunity to welcome an international audience and host one of the world’s most prestigious sporting events, the 2021 America’s Cup, is providing similar urgency to the ambitious agenda of public realm improvements.

17 June 2019

Urban Design Forum debate live-streamed from Auckland’s North Studio

Our Auckland office started the 2019 Studio Sessions by hosting a debate sponsored by the Urban Design Forum. Mediated by Nick Williamson, senior planning consultant at Align Limited, a panel of six urban design experts and opinion leaders argued the topic, "Urban Design: The panacea we had hoped for?"

20 February 2019

Graphics & Mapping

Helping the Central Interceptor achieve a ‘Leading’ ISCA sustainability rating

The Central Interceptor is New Zealand’s largest wastewater tunnel project at 14.7 km long and 4.5m wide. It is located in Auckland and will run underground from Grey Lynn to Watercare’s Māngere Wastewater Treatment Plant.

18 November 2020

3D modelling for better planning

Advancement in computer software and hardware technologies is causing a sea change in the way local governments are using 3D modelling for planning and designing future developments. Two-dimensional representation of alternative scenarios is a thing of the past, writes GIS specialist Sandeep Gangar.

8 April 2020

GIS Day 2019: when Geographic Information Systems technology is celebrated internationally

GIS experts everywhere will be celebrating how far the technology has come since the idea was first developed by Roger Tomlinson and raising the profile of geography and spatial data by demonstrating how real world applications of GIS are making a difference to society.

14 November 2019

Remote possibilities: Peter Wilder has been appointed Manager UAV Services

Advances in electronics, camera technology and small unmanned aircraft have created a new generation of survey and site data acquisition that is affordable and adaptable to the needs of developers and planners.

24 October 2019

Engagement Innovations Win Awards

Wellington projects have been recognised: a Golden Quill Award of Merit related to the Omaroro/Prince of Wales Reservoir Consenting for Wellington Water, and an NZPI Best Practice Award for the Pre-1930’s Character Area Review undertaken with Wellington City Council. The creativity and skill of our Technical Services team played a key role in these wins.

15 April 2019

Virtual Reality is a powerful tool for Community Engagement

In communicating the future impact of large-scale infrastructure – and how that impact can be mitigated by planting and land formations – virtual reality is highly effective method of showing stakeholders what things will look like during construction, and several years down the track.

21 January 2019

New certification could lead to future drone imagery on projects

Boffa Miskell is working towards becoming a certified Part 102 RPAS operator for drone piloting.

31 March 2016

Adding data adds value

A request to make GIS river data more accessible for stakeholders led to a further field data tool being added, with considerable benefits.

10 June 2014

Field work goes digital

Real time access, recording and updating of digital data including spatial (GIS) data while working remotely in the field.

1 August 2013

Census mapping delivered!

8000 maps delivered on time to the Department of Statistics for the 2013 Census

3 April 2013


Does your project involve fish passage? Here’s what you need to know:

The New Zealand Government recently introduced regulations on fish passage into the updated National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPS-FM) and National Environmental Standard for Freshwater (NES-F).

5 February 2021

My experience: The Influence of Social Media on Biosecurity

Sian Reynolds has seen first-hand the impact that on-line exchanges can have on perception and behaviour in the real world; and shares the positive and negative aspects.

4 February 2021

A Hot Topic: Fire and Wilding Conifers

Wilding conifers infest over 1.8 million hectares of New Zealand. The spread of these self-sown trees has a dire effect on natural ecosystems and creates severe implications for fire control. 

4 February 2021

The fight to keep our Kauri standing

It was first found in the Waitākere Ranges nearly 15 years ago, but over the past five years the rapid rate of "kauri dieback" spread has become an urgent concern. Biosecurity consultant Kate Heaphy explains the most recent developments in the fight to save Aotearoa's iconic trees.

17 December 2020

Meet the Boffa Miskell Ecology Team: Eddie Sides

Eddie Sides has over 20 years of professional experience in assessing the effects of human activities on freshwater environments - streams, rivers, and lakes and their communities of plants, macroinvertebrates and fishes.

20 October 2020

What you need to know about the NPS for Freshwater Management 2020

The NPS-FM 2020 requires a marked increase in the mapping and monitoring requirements of freshwater systems whilst also requiring Councils to maintain closer reins on the loss of extent of these systems.

20 October 2020

Using drone imagery to monitor wetlands from above

Tracking through wetlands can contribute to the spread of weeds, trampling of fragile plants, and disturb feeding and nesting wetland birds. So, what is the best way to monitor a sensitive wetland over time without damaging it?

20 October 2020

A native understory in a concrete jungle

If very small urban plantings are unlikely to provide important habitat, why plant natives at all? Christchurch-based botantist Dr Jaz Morris explores some broad questions of ecological pedantry in small-scale plantings in the urban environment.

20 October 2020

A silver lining to the COVID-19 lockdown?

Late March through early May brought a brief glimpse of the impact reduced human activity might have on the environment. Aided by an informal survey on the Boffa Miskell social media channels, biosecurity consultant Kate Heaphy considers 'where to from here?'

27 July 2020

Generation E: How technological innovations are changing the face of ecology

Technology has come to take a front seat in our everyday activities. Each year, it seems, a new gadget hits the market, ready to change our lives for the better. In ecology, the story is much the same with technology evolving at an exponential rate and rapidly changing the way in which we collect and analyse data.

27 July 2020

Landscape planning

Landscape Planning project wins NZILA praise

The Waikeria Prison Landscape for the Department of Corrections picked up an Excellence Award for project-based Landscape Planning in the 2019 Resene New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architecture Awards.

23 January 2020

Natural character assessments and provisions in a coastal environment

Rhys Girvan and Emma McRae delve into natural character assessments in the coastal environment and help define the difference between natural character and landscape evaluation. They also consider how to define the coastal environment, scale of assessment, and outstanding natural character.

17 January 2019

Waikato District Landscape Study

Boffa Miskell was engaged by Waikato District Council to undertake a review of the existing landscape characterisation and classifications, and to re-evaluate the landscapes for the Council’s District Plan Review.

5 September 2018

Consultation is the key: the Hurunui District Plan

When the Hurunui District Plan became operative, there was a greater-than-usual level of satisfaction at the District Council Offices in Amberley because the plan had been approved with no appeals received from the public.

6 August 2018

Art in the landscape

We talk to one of our board members, John Goodwin, about what’s involved in helping to organise a popular sculpture trail on Waiheke Island.

6 March 2017

Coastal Natural Character Assessment methodologies

Implementation of Policy 13 of the NZCPS 2010 in light of recent assessment techniques. Prepared for Department of Conservation Natural Character Workshop No. 3

11 December 2015

Landscape: Debunking the ‘absolute’ protection myth

Exploring the implications relating to the identification and management of outstanding natural features and landscapes

23 June 2015

Natural character assessments

Developing Natural Character Assessment methodologies

1 May 2012


Be Bold: Spatial Planning for the 21st Century

It's time for greater emphasis on comprehensive spatial planning that coordinates land use, infrastructure and environmental protection. An effects-based, site-level approach cannot bring about necessary long-term outcomes.

19 November 2020

Action for Healthy Waterways: Opportunities and Implications

The Government is taking a more proactive and hands-on role in freshwater management in the next phase of reforms.

22 June 2020

National Planning Standards: One year on, what have we learned?

Hamish Wesney and Stephanie Styles reflect on the original purpose of the planning standards, highlight the types of implementation issues being experienced, and offer suggestions on how Councils can efficiently implement the planning standards.

5 May 2020

Independent RMA Hearings Commissioners

Recognised as experts in their fields, experienced Boffa Miskell consultants across a range of disciplines are qualified to be independent RMA (Resource Management Act) Commissioners.

28 February 2020

Opinion: Planners share their perspectives on the NPSIB

The proposed National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity (NPSIB) sets out the objectives and policies to identify, protect, manage and restore indigenous biodiversity under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA). We asked planner Stephanie Styles and landscape planner James Bentley for their thoughts on the structure and implications of this proposed policy.

17 February 2020

Planner Sharon Dines analyses the proposed changes in Freshwater Policies

With a goal of stopping degradation, improving quality and reversing past damage to freshwater systems, the government has proposed a comprehensive suite of policy documents and legislative changes related to freshwater management. Water allocation issues, and Maori interests are also addressed within these proposals.

14 October 2019

Opinion: If I was Minister for the Environment

The Wellington Branch of the NZPI held a semi-serious panel discussion to an audience of planners, lawyers and government officials. Robert Schofield was one of six resource management experts who shared what they would do if they were Minister for the Environment, and in charge of the RMA review. The views expressed are personal and intended to be thought-provoking.

23 August 2019

Representing Pacific voices in Resource Management Practice

The Aotearoa Pacific Practitioners Group brings together planning and environmental practitioners with a Pacific heritage or association. Sarah Heritage and Melita Raravula are both members of the group.

13 June 2019

Small Town Forums: sharing ideas and finding solutions

Bringing local government officials together, starting conversations and helping regional communities find new vitality

13 November 2018

Opinion: Planner Sharon Dines on the new Freshwater policies

On 9 October, the government announced the next steps to improve New Zealand’s waterways. The proposed changes are seeking to deliver visible improvements in water quality within five years and longer term improvements within a generation.

11 October 2018

Cultural heritage

Finding ways to measure mauri: State of the Takiwā

The cultural perspectives are often intangible but the State of the Takiwā methodology makes this quantifiable; enabling cultural perspectives to be collated or cross-referenced with scientific evidence.

4 May 2020

Mātauranga Māori profiled by the New Zealand Journal of Ecology

A group of Māori ecologists and scientists have contributed to a special edition of the New Zealand Journal of Ecology, driving change to place Mātauranga Māori alongside Western science.

17 January 2020

Connecting Indigenous Placemakers: sharing narratives and creative practice

In September, two Boffa Miskell landscape architects joined other Māori practitioners to begin a week-long residency in Toronto with other indigenous whānui (wider family communities) from across Canada and around the world.

26 November 2019

Te Kakakura Retaining Wall

The concepts of rongoa Māori and kaitiakitanga were built into the design narratives that connected historical and contemporary Te Āti Awa iwi to their guardianship role over the Kāpiti coast

25 July 2019

It’s more than a name – it’s a legacy

Mapihi Martin-Paul (Ngāi Tahu – Ngāi Te Ruahikihiki, Te Arawa – Ngāti Pikiao) reflects on the concept of whakapapa and the adoption of dual-naming in Ōtautahi/Christchurch.

15 December 2018

Rangitahi Kawe & Te Pio Kawe: two generations

The dictionary defines a generation as "the period during which children are born and grow up, become adults". In kinship terminology, it designates the parent-child relationship; and as a verb, ‘generation’ is also known as bio-genesis: “life-beginning”.

10 December 2018

Opinion: Can cultural attributes help guide us as we restore degraded waterways back to health?

Norm Hill, Kaiarataki in Boffa Miskell's Te Hihiri discipline discusses the intersection between indigenous beliefs and colonial regulations on New Zealand’s environment. Incorporating Maori cultural values to legislative frameworks highlights mana whenua’s spiritual connection with, and stewardship of, New Zealand’s freshwater rivers, lakes and wetlands.

16 October 2018

Our business cards: what does the whakataukī mean?

You've probably seen our new business cards, which include a whakataukī (or proverb) on the back. Craig Pauling, Kaiarataki - Te Hihiri, explains the origin and meaning.

31 August 2018

Cultural Impact Assessments – insights and observations

Cultural impact assessments provide opportunities for resource management practitioners and Māori to work together to develop confidence in understanding Māori perspectives and articulating values in order to drive solutions and decisions to meet our aspirations into the future. 

10 April 2018

Seeing the cultural landscape

When Auckland Transport consulted iwi at the outset of planning its proposed $40 million Dominion Road upgrade, a collaborative design process evolved that saw the area’s rich cultural heritage woven into the project design.

25 March 2014