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


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

A walk down High Street: through a child’s eyes

More children live in central Auckland than ever before. If the city is an urban child's backyard, what should that city provide?

22 January 2019

2018: A landmark year of making places for people

Thinking about how we want to live and the ways we move around; shaping the future, while preserving the best of the past. Creating better places for people has been one of the overarching themes of the past year.

17 December 2018

Two consultants join Urban Design Forum leadership

The Urban Design Forum promotes cross-disciplinary understanding of urban design and provides a forum for discussion of design-based approaches that are relevant to the development and management of New Zealand towns and cities.

9 October 2018

Changing our city streets: reframing the debate

In print and on-line, the discussion around changes to our city and suburban streets continues. Landscape architect John Potter considers the situation from a design- and people-based perspective.

13 August 2018

Graphics & Mapping

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


Opinion: Are we experiencing an Insect Apocalypse ?

Insects are the under-appreciated powerhouses of our ecosystem. In reviewing evidence of a global decline in population, Dr Tanya Blakely suggests that we need to embrace the discomfort of our complex relationship with these essential creatures.

28 January 2020

What’s underfoot on the beach? You’d be surprised

Nothing says “summer” more than sprinting over burning hot sand dunes towards the cool relief of the sea. But ecologist Alex Gault says you might want to mind your step as you race towards the water — New Zealand's coastal sand dunes are some of our most threatened environments and are home to several Threatened and At-Risk species.

23 January 2020

Meet the Boffa Miskell ecology team: Dr Matthew Jones

Dr Matthew Jones has joined the ecology team as an aquatic taxonomist, based in Tauranga. He brings a wide range of skills and experience to his role; and has worked on a variety of topics, from marine contaminant monitoring to the structure and function of deep-sea ecosystems.

21 November 2019

Opinion: Ecologist Sarah Flynn on the case for re-wilding suburban environments

"Re-wilding" is an emerging global trend that uses a passive management approach to restore natural ecosystem processes in human-modified environments, and by doing so, reacquaints people with nature.

6 November 2019

Meet the Boffa Miskell ecology team: Dr Ian Boothroyd

The expression "If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it" might have been written with Dr Ian Boothroyd in mind. He's a frequent lecturer, panellist and conference presenter; and has co-authored many national standards for freshwater and biodiversity management, but that's just the beginning.

14 October 2019

Action for Healthy Waterways: What You Need to Know

A focus on Te Mana o te Wai, and to prioritise water quality in decision making underpins the Government's new ‘Action for Healthy Waterways’ agenda.

14 October 2019

Opinion: It’s time to end our love affair with plastic

Ecologist Katrina McDermott explains why she returned from her recent holiday with a heightened concern for the extent of microplastic pollution.

14 October 2019

Three weeks in the sub-Antarctic: Brent Barrett reports

The idea of taking a 35-hour bus trip in New Zealand seems very strange; as does the thought of a boat journey of this duration. However, there's no other way to get to Sub-Antarctic Auckland Island which would be my home for three weeks.

19 September 2019

What you need to know about The Wildlife Act

The Wildlife Act authorisation process is an important component of any project that may impact absolutely protected wildlife, such as native lizards, birds, bats and some invertebrates. Often allowing for the survey and salvage activities to occur ahead of construction, the Wildlife Act Authorisation process was aimed to ensure, as far as possible, wildlife is not injured or killed.

9 July 2019

Opinion: Are invasive species being taken seriously, or are poor decisions costing the country?

Invasive flora and fauna have been encroaching into new areas of New Zealand for decades, causing widespread ecological damage and lost revenue. While some have been here for over two centuries, others are more recent arrivals.

9 July 2019

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


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

Improving Freshwater Quality: what do the new policies mean for you?

The government has announced the next steps to improve New Zealand’s waterways, seeking to deliver better water quality within five years.

9 October 2018

Independent Commissioners

Sharon De Luca, Leigh Bull and Craig Pauling have completed their ‘Making Good Decisions’ training, adding them to the group of Boffa Miskell people qualified to be appointed as independent RMA hearings commissioners.

2 March 2015

A Chatham Islander’s solution

When asked to carry out a feasibility study for developing a learning centre and housing on the Chatham Islands, Boffa Miskell and Design Tribe Architects knew that creative thinking would be required.

25 March 2014

Careful planning for retail development

How would Rotorua’s central business district be affected if trade activities were developed nearby?

1 August 2013

Cultural heritage

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

Reflecting the rohe: Ra-paki Marae

Long ago, Ngāi Tahu Chief Te Rakiwhakaputa claimed the settlement at Rāpaki for himself by laying his rāpaki (waist mat) on the shores of the bay. Since then the small Ngāi Tahu settlement, also known as Rāpaki o Te Rakiwhakaputa, has been home to his descendants, ngā uri o Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke.

1 November 2012