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Do you have a MANEL (all male panel)

Perhaps your keynote speakers are all looking a bit pale & stale, and probably male?
Then this is the list for you!

The idea of this list is to create "no more excuses for a lack of representation on your panels." Please feel free to reach out to these incredible speakers!

Also, if you're a wāhine who wants to speak on urban issues (e.g. Architecture, Engineering, Planning, Urban Design, Politics, Transport, Housing, Climate Change, Public Spaces and Places) and you want to be on our list, please send a photo of you, with your title (job etc.), your preferred email, and a very very short bio to


JADE KAKE: Whāngarei

Architecture and Urban Design, Matakohe Architecture and Urbanism Ltd

Jade Kake (Ngāpuhi - Te Parawhau me Ngāti Hau, Te Arawa, Whakatōhea) is an architectural designer, writer and housing advocate. Her design practice is focussed on working with Māori organisations on their marae, papakāinga and civic projects, and in working with mana whenua groups to express their cultural values and narratives through urban design. In 2018, she successfully delivered season one of Indigenous Urbanism, a place-based storytelling podcast about the spaces we inhabit, and the community drivers and practitioners who are shaping those environments and decolonising through design. She has written for a variety of housing and architecture magazines and contributed chapters to several books on architecture and urbanism. Jade is a frequent speaker on housing and design related matters on panels, and at conferences and public events, both domestically and internationally.


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JACQUELINE PAUL: Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland


Ngapuhi, Ngati Tuwharetoa, and Ngati Kahungunu ki Heretaunga


Māori Landscape Architect, Lecturer at the School of Architecture and Researcher at Ngā Wai a Te Tūi Māori and Indigenous Research Centre at Unitec


Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Kahungunu ki Heretaunga 

Māori Landscape Architect, Lecturer at the School of Architecture and Researcher at Ngā Wai a Te Tūi Māori and Indigenous Research Centre at Unitec.


Key research interests focusing on building better homes towns and communities, Maori housing, mobilizing rangatahi and Maori voices, transformative policies, improving architecture and urban planning.


Jacqueline is currently involved in the National Science Challenge: building better homes, towns and cities projects. Future neighbourhoods research stream focussing on the urban regeneration in Glen Innes and the Kainga Tahi Kainga Rua – Maori housing and papakainga projects.


Jacqueline is a proactive advocate for better youth inclusiveness in the development of planning the future cities and communities. She is a member of Ngā Aho Network of Māori Design Professionals and an appointed member of the Expert Advisory Panel for Open Government at State Services Commission NZ.​



CHLÖE SWARBRICK: Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland

Spokesperson for Mental Health, Drug Law Reform, Education, Arts and Heritage, Tertiary Education, Small Business, Broadcasting, Youth, Local Government for the NZ Green Party of Aoteroa. 


She has been a law student, journalist, business owner and a community project leader. 

Chlöe cut her political teeth debating previous leader of the Labour Party, and the city’s new Mayor, Phil Goff. Almost 30,000 Aucklanders gave her their vote after Chlöe and her team campaigned for just 4 months on a shoestring budget. They voted for her because she was talking to them, about their city and what mattered to them.

She is the youngest MP in Aotearoa for over 40 years. She entered parliament to show people that politicians can look a little different, sound a little different, do things a little different, and to drive home the message that politicians work for people.



AMIRIA PUIA-TAYLOR: Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland

The People Weaver, founder of Painting for People, Community Muralist

Born in Central Auckland and raised in both South (by way of her turangawaewae in Waiuku) and Central Auckland. The marriage of both regions has her now residing in the South Central Auckland suburb of Onehunga. Formally trained with a BA in Visual Arts and MA in Arts Management, her unique skill-set helped her inform her visual arts practice as a Community Muralist. Her multi-disciplinary works can be found all over Auckland - large-scale murals, performance art pieces, audience activations and in exhibitions.


For the last ten years, she has actively been learning and practicing the teachings of her elders, her art communities and has been connecting the links between the old and young. Working with youth is where Amiria’s passion stems from and she seeks to expand the importance of arts education and the development of urban contemporary arts for young people. Some of her works deal with untold stories of the ngā mana whenua o Tāmaki Makaurau and the importance of Kaitiakitanga - caring for the land and sea as a way to educate and empower youth to take ownership of their kainga - home.



VIKKI HAM: Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland

Māori woman systems innovator (Kaiwhakaauaha Pūnaha)

Ngati Tuwharetoa and Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairoa

Vikki has worked in public health and community development for 20yrs both at a regional and local level and is now in a role that involves engaging communities to co-design community solutions to ensure they continue to flourish.  Is passionate about ensuring local Māori have a voice in town planning and that Māori cultural narratives are reflected in the design of buildings, places and spaces where people live, learn, work and play.  Is able to encourage innovation, creativity, imagination and to think that all things are possible. 


Overall, Vikki has a wealth of community experience and is also trained with a Bachelor of Māori Studies – majoring in Economic Development / Business Management and has a Postgraduate Certificate in Leadership and Management in Health Science.   


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Co-director at The Workshop, Research Associate, Public Policy Institute, University of Auckland

Dr Jess Berentson-Shaw is a researcher, public communicator, and knowledge translator with 15 years’ experience in building connections between good evidence and implementation in policy and practice settings. Jess' special interest is in using values, cognitive psychology and language, along side research, to help people act on good information, especially in relation to effective public policy. She also has a strong commitment to equity building to deliver more equal and sustainable communities and societies.


Jess has a PhD in Health Psychology and has worked across academia, government and non government organisations translating and implementing best evidence and knowledge. She is author of A Matter of Fact. Talking Truth in a Post-Truth World a bWB text, is Co-Director of the research and policy collaborative The Workshop, and is an Associate of the Public Policy Institute of Auckland University. You can find her writing and in speaking on national media outlets including Newsroom, Stuff, and RNZ.




ESETA MAKA-FONOKALAFI: Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland

Tongan, Urban Planner

My first practical ‘planning’ experience started as an intern at the Greater Nashville Regional Council in Tennessee, USA when I was an undergraduate at Middle Tennessee State University and then I returned home to NZ and continued studying at Otago University where I graduated with a Master of Planning. Entered the workforce as an Auckland Council Planning Graduate which created opportunities to work in various departments such as Resource Consenting, Auckland Design Office and Plans and Places.

Currently working in the Cultural Values Assessment Review Project within the Auckland Council Regulatory Services which seeks to improve the way mana whenua’s cultural values are considered and documented in the resource consenting process.


Part of the Pacific Staff Network, Women’s Leadership Network at Auckland Council and Co-founder of ‘Lalanga’ an initiative aimed at providing free advice around the planning framework for Māori and Pasifika families.


My interests are around topics that are about navigating systems and spaces that were not originally designed for equity as well as diversity and finding solutions as to how we can optimise what we have to improve outcomes for all with Māori are at the forefront.



NESH PILLAY: Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland

Light Rail Transport Consenting Lead for Auckland Transport, Chair of the Auckland/Northland Branch of the NZ Planning Institute

Nesh Pillay is a passionate proponent of consent, professionally as Light Rail Transport Consenting Lead for Auckland Transport, and personally as a woman living the challenges and opportunities of Auckland while planning for a better one as Chair of the Auckland/Northland Branch of the NZ Planning Institute.

Born in apartheid era South Africa, nine year old Nesh emigrated and grew up as a proud kiwi. The communities she lives inform her work as planner who is firmly focussed on generating community participation in city making.  At the heart of her approach is collaboration, which attracted her to Broad-ly Speaking and reflects her enthusiastic commitment to Auckland Transport’s Diversity and Inclusion Leadership team.


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ELISE COPELAND: Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland


Principal Specialist Universal Access and Design, Auckland Council


Elise Copeland is a registered Occupational Therapist who completed her Masters at AUT focussing on universal design in the built environment. Elise is in the Auckland Design Office and is part of Auckland Council Project's Design Review Panel, advising on projects such as City Rail Link, major public realm and streetscape upgrades. Elise collaborates with a wide range of disability organisations to support better practice in universal design. Additionally, she is the Deputy Lead Officer for Auckland Council's Disability Advisory Panel. Elise develops and curates content for the Universal Design Hub of the Auckland Design Manual: She recently organised the very successful Te Ao Tangata Universal Design Conference 2018:



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DR SUBEH CHOWDHURY: Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland


Lecturer at Faculty of Engineering, University of Auckland


Subeh joined the University of Auckland as a lecturer after completing her doctoral study. She is passionate about the impact mobility has on communities and people use of sustainable transport modes. Before joining the university, she has worked with Opus International Consultants and Beca Consultants for a combined period of 3 years as a Transportation Engineer.


Her time in the industry involved working with various alliance transportation projects (minor traffic safety, temporary traffic management, crash reduction studies etc.). She maintains her link with the industry by providing sponsored research projects to her students. She is also an active member of the NZ Engineering Transport Group.




LUCY GODFREY: Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland


Senior Transport Planner, Mott MacDonald

Lucy is a Senior Transport Planner in Mott MacDonald's Auckland office. She has over nine years’ experience working on complex highway infrastructure schemes from concept through to public consultation and construction. She has worked in both public and private sector organisations both in the Uk and New Zealand fostering stakeholder relationships and using innovate engagement approaches to ensure successful delivery. She is passionate about ensuring streets are designed for their users with people and placemaking at the centre.






Bicycle Advocate, Women in Urbanism Spokesperson, Community Manager


Catarina is an urbanist, digital marketer, public speaker, and advocate of cycling in New Zealand. She's dedicated her time to getting more people on bikes and helping them find the joy in riding.

Catarina has spoken at conferences such as Asia-Pacific Cycling Congress 2017 and Cycling Action Network Conference 2017 on topics such as inclusivity and gender bias, diversity, digital marketing strategies, and the future of advocacy. She serves as the e-bike representative on the NZ Government’s Electric Vehicle Leadership Programme Group (appointed by the Associate Ministry of Transport).




KATHRYN KING: Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland

Urban Mobility Manager, NZ Transport Agency

Kathryn has over 15 years’ experience in transport planning.  She is currently the Urban Mobility Manager at the NZ Transport Agency, advising on creating friendlier, healthier streets for people across New Zealand.  Kathryn led the walking, cycling and safety department at Auckland Transport for four years, overseeing a phenomenal rise in people cycling in New Zealand’s largest city and starting to shift the city away from its car dependency.  Kathryn spent more than 12 years working in London, most recently at the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea where she introduced a number of innovative cycling and safety initiatives.



YESHE DAWA: Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland

The Midnight Baker, Candidate for Albert-Eden Local Board (Maungawhau), Creative Mornings Speaker

Yeshe is the owner of the gluten-free bakery, The Midnight Baker, based in Mt Eden, Auckland. She supplies eateries and cafes around Aotearoa as well as running a gluten-free, plant-based cafe from the bakery on the weekends.  Sustainability, best environmental practices, and manaakitanga are at the core of The Midnight Baker's values. 


She is an ardent proponent for inclusivity, equity, and diversity how they can be woven into the fabric of our day to day lives, our businesses, and institutional frameworks.  


As a keen cycler and hiker, Yeshe is passionate about positive action around climate change. She wants to see a sustainable transport infrastructure that incorporates access and safety, and the regeneration of our environment.


Yeshe is currently standing for the Albert-Eden local board.  She hopes to add greater diversity and a youth adjacent voice to the conversation about how our communities are shaped and prepared for the future. 



ELLIE CRAFT: Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland

Transport Planner and Urban Design at MRCagney, Women in Urbanism Spokesperson, Generation Zero Spokesperson

Ellie has a long history in Climate Change Advocacy and urban issues. She an incredibly competent, kind and warm soul who will brighten up any panel, while not shying away from difficult topics. 



SARA BEKHIT: Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland


Women in Urbanism Spokesperson, Engineering Student

Sara is a final year engineering student in networking and communication and a Women in Urbanism member. Sara’s interests particularly lie in cyber security and digital forensics. 

Sara has also been selected by the Aotearoa Youth Leadership Institute (AYLI) to represent AYLI at the United Nations’ Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in Geneva, Switzerland, this coming January. 

The UPR will be an invaluable and important stepping-stone in the disciplines of biodiversity, law, palliative care, global studies, international relations and engineering.



VICTORIA CARTER: Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland


ONZM, founder of City Hop

Curious, connected and intuitive, Victoria is a social entrepreneur who loves sharing her journey. A high profile Auckland City Councillor who re-started the Auckland Arts Festival she left politics to found Cityhop, NZ’s first  and largest cars by the hour company.


Victoria speaks and writes regularly on the value of diversity in the boardroom and senior leadership teams; A huge encourager of women, squigglers and fifth hammers Victoria is the first female President of the Northern Club.

She probably knows more about car share than anyone in NZ and can talk about new mobility, why it works, the impact, how to encourage one less car on our streets resulting in a more healthy city, economy and social well-being.



OLIVIA HADDON: Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland


Olivia is from Pakiri, and is from Ngāti Manuhiri, Ngāti wai and Ngati Runanui iwi

Olivia Haddon is an urban mother of three, as well as an Urban Planner and Urban Designer. 

Olivia has a background in Māori art, design, planning and urban design. She currently works as an Urban Design Specialist  in Māori Design within the Auckland Design Office at Auckland Council. She champions design partnerships with mana whenua and urban kaitiakitanga and specifically works to incorporate Māori design thinking into council’s urban design strategy and planning.

Olivia loves art, being Māori and Tāmaki Makauru. Her design work and research investigates indigenous innovation, Māori urbanism, Māori design principles, qualities and outcomes. When design is inclusive of indigenous knowledge and mixes old ways of knowing, being and doing with new modes and technologies, it has transformational urban, social and environmental outcomes that can mutually benefit all.


Olivia recently curated and lead Te Paparahi Toi Maori, a publication and digital App, that reveals and makes visible Māori cultural elements embedded into the fabric of Auckland city centre. The successful project has had broad appeal. It reveals Māori and shared histories beneath the modern façade of the city, to celebrate the rich indigenous Māori culture, values, knowledge and ways of being that make our city.



ALEXANDRA HALL: Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland


Women in Urbanism Spokesperson, Charted Civil Engineer, Ambassador for Engineering NZ

Alexandra is a chartered civil engineer with eight years’ experience in engineering working on strategic transport projects in New Zealand, the Pacific and Europe. 

Her goal is to make our cities more accessible and enjoyable for everyone which reflects in her work as an engineer and with Women in Urbanism. Her projects demonstrate that meaningful outcomes are created when engineering is combined with empathy and diversity. She loves sharing this concept and her experience with audiences of all sizes, most recently at the Auckland Build Expo 2018.

As an ambassador for Engineering NZ, Alexandra also volunteers her time encouraging children, particularly girls, into STEM by sharing her passion for engineering and science.



BOOPSIE MARAN: Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland


Places for Good Applying Community Advocacy to sustainable policy reform Placemaking Leadership Council, PPS (project for public space) Registered Primary and Secondary Teacher Advocate for youth as they combat solutions to our current climate emergency.

Boopsie Maran has worked in the hospitality industry for over 20 years. Today she specializes in creative solutions to improve public spaces. Combining her own personal insights as a mother of two and feedback from both locals and tourists, Boopsie provides a fresh perspective on city planning and local governance. She looks beyond project implementation and views placemaking as an iterative, collaborative process.  


Having traversed over 300 cities by rail, train, bike, and foot, Boopsie has a few things to say about the diversity of user experiences when it comes to urban spaces.  Where we place rubbish bins, how wide we make footpaths, and the space between each park bench are all elements that shape the manner in which we engage and interact. Boopsie believes that lowering barriers of communication to local government and making a more transparent and accountable system will bring about improvement.  Because, when accepting the initial stages of project implementation “perfect” is never an option..


Currently, Boopsie is collecting transport data on local bus-stops in order to improve equity and inclusivity for youth and elderly bus users.  She also has recently learned that in order to clean a street one must lodge three separate complaints with city council, 1) Loose litter, 2) Cesspit cleaning, and 3) Fallen leaves.”



WHITNEY ADAM: Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland


Urban Planner, Women in Urbanism Spokesperson, Parent

Whitney is interested in people movement in cities and how inclusive (or not) that is. Whitney has over 12 years’ experience in delivering major infrastructure projects. She brings professional insight from working in the engineering industry across Australia, the United Kingdom and New Zealand.

Whitney’s specialisation is assessing the intersect of transport infrastructure and its social and equality impact. This means understanding how different genders, race, religion and ages experience and use transport infrastructure.

Whitney brings personal insights as a recent, first time parent and is especially interested in pregnant women, babies and new parents and how they move through cities.

She is a big fan of walking, cycling, and taking the bus. She is yet to be convinced that technology will solve our urban woes.




Founder, storyteller, creative director at Papaya Stories; Community builder, Placemaker, Mental Health Advocate

Being a Russian Kiwi, Yana is passionate about bringing diverse people together and creating multi-sensory experiences by transforming the urban spaces into something extraordinary and meaningful. She likes to explore the interconnection between urban design, city planning, interactive activities that have a positive impact on mental health and wellbeing. 


Yana is a founder of Papaya Stories - a unique platform that inspires people to live to the fullest, follow their passions and dreams. She shares stories about ordinary people with extraordinary lives and creates immersive, unique and interactive events and community experiences such as Silent Disco Citywalk, Flashmobs, City Quests.



JENN BENDEN: Ōtautahi – Christchurch

Section Lead – Parks Recreation Tourism at Jacobs
Board Director World Urban Parks
Chair, Canterbury Committee - New Zealand Recreation Association

Jenn is an established and award-winning leader in Parks, Recreation, Sport and Tourism in New Zealand. She studied Bachelor of Sport and Recreation Management at Lincoln University, and has recently returned part-time to finish her Masters in Parks, Recreation and Tourism. Her passion has always been working within the recreation industry in many forms from general management of recreation non-profits to recreation programming and building flying foxes. Jenn was named Emerging Recreation Leader of the Year in 2016 and was the chair of the Parks, Sport Recreation ‘Go-Getters’ network, Generate Network, for 5 years.

Her current role and passion is bringing the world of large private engineering consultancies and the parks, sport and tourism to the same table. Recreation is a key part of being a New Zealander, and our investment into these facilities is billions every year. Jenn works with architects, engineers, planners, and the parks and recreation teams at local councils to ensure that these dollars are being put to good use, and that the end result is of the highest benefit to communities. Our urban infrastructure projects are also urban forests, urban parks, urban sports centers, and urban reserves. Whether you have a road, cul de sac, building, park, farm or an old landfill – Jenn sees a recreational opportunity that awaits its first visitor.


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Principal Researcher at MRCagney, Vice Chair, Engineering NZ Transportation Group

Bridget is a transport engineer and researcher. Her doctorate in cognitive psychology explored the way people think and behave while driving, and implications for safe road design for all people. Bridget specialises in inclusion as a transport policy objective, and has worked with the disability sector on participatory design and planning methods to improve equity of participation. In 2016 Bridget presented at a Roundtable meeting of the International Transport Forum on benefits and costs of accessible transport. She is a credible, engaging and provocative speaker.


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VANESSA WILLS: Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland

Stakeholder Relations Manager -

Vanessa has spent the last decade addressing key issues, determining outcomes, and targeting audiences to bring about change. She has provided legal, government relations, public relations, iwi relations and communications advice designed to shift both opinion and policy to a number of prominent New Zealand and international organisations. 


A former lawyer, Vanessa is now Head of Stakeholder Relations at ChargeNet, the Southern Hemisphere’s largest privately-funded fast charging network for EVs. Vanessa is acutely aware of the revolution coming in the transport space, and knows now is the time to get involved and re-shape how we live, work and play - collaboratively.


Gender and environmental issues have always been top of mind for Vanessa; she holds a Masters in Environmental Law (Hons) from the University of Auckland and a Bachelor of Arts in Gender and Women’s Studies from the University of Otago. 


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LISA MEIN: Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland

Urban Design Specialist, Member and chair of the Auckland Urban Design Panel, Committee member of the Urban Design Forum


Lisa is a qualified Urban Designer and Planner with 24 years’ experience in New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Ireland. Lisa’s experience spans the public and private sectors and a diverse range of areas from masterplanning and design guidance to policy development, heritage planning and innovative community engagement.


She is also a mother to two beautiful, crazy, fun-loving teenagers and an adorable schnoodle. Lisa a strong female advocate of quality and inclusive Urban Design; she believes we must design our cities, towns and suburbs for all people and that as urban designers we have a responsibility to create places that are safe, attractive, vibrant and conducive to health and wellbeing for present and future generations.


She is passionate about involving local communities in decision-making for their places, particularly in finding a voice for those who are less able or inclined to share their opinions.


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ALEX BONHAM: Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland

Doctoral Student, Candidate for Waitematā Local Board


Alex Bonham is in her second year of a doctorate at the University of Auckland where she is studying the playful city. She can speak on child-focused urban planning and international interventions to design and retrofit urban spaces to promote individual wellbeing and better community connections through play. 


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EMMA MCINNES: Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland

Designer, Illustrator, Co-Founder and Chair of Women in Urbanism Aotearoa

Emma is a fierce feminist, campaigner for protected cycle-lanes and lover of cities. 



PAULA TESORIERO: Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland

Disability Rights Commissioner

Paula Tesoriero is New Zealand’s Disability Rights Commissioner. It is her role to protect and promote the rights of disabled New Zealanders. She is also a Paralympian cycling gold medalist, a former lawyer, was a general manager at Stats NZ and at the Ministry of Justice, has held a range of governance roles on various Boards and is a mum.


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Consultant, and PhD Researcher, Lincoln University & Copenhagen University.

How do we design our places with local people? Do professionals or locals enable or impair democracy, when our places are being changed? Is participation fostering the transformation, stasis or disintegration of relationships? Is participation a benefit or a tyranny, or both? These questions are at the centre of Anne’s interests. She is focused on how we can do better: considering what got us here, and what to do next. 


Anne has spent c. 20yrs designing and facilitating the relationships between local people, their places, spatial design teams and their clients. During this time Anne had a close relationship with academia and policy.  She has worked globally, first in Scotland and then in Scandinavia, South America - and now Aotearoa. She first moved to Aotearoa in 2013, to work in Christchurch.


Her current focus is on bringing together her practice and research. She is finally writing her PhD (Lincoln University  & Copenhagen University). This study aims to untangle a little about Aotearoa’s approaches to participation in urbanism and landscape democracy. She is based in Wellington, but is regularly in other parts of New Zealand, and occasionally in Europe and Australia.


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MELISSA LAING (DR): Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland

Community Arts Broker, placemaker, advocate for art in the public realm, artist

Dr Melissa Laing (Pākehā) is a curator, artist and writer. Her passion is for art intersecting with communities in fruitful, delightful and thought provoking ways. She currently works as the Whau Community Arts Broker, a role funded by the Whau Local Board, Auckland Council to support temporary art activations across the Whau. She is the lead for the Urban Walking festival and co-curator for Walking about, a series of ambulatory artworks. 


Melissa's research focuses on the realms of ethics, art and urbanism.  She is the lead researcher for the Performance Ethics Working Group. Her writing has been published in Pantograph Punch, academic journals, and exhibition and artist catalogues, including a forthcoming essay in the international publication Art in the Public Realm.



FRITH WALKER: Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland

Community Arts Broker, placemaker, advocate for art in the public realm, artist

Manager Placemaking, Panuku Development Auckland


Frith began her placemaking journey for Waterfront Auckland with the redevelopment of the waterfront. She now sprinkles her magic in many neighbourhoods throughout the city for Auckland’s urban regeneration agency, Panuku Development Auckland.


As a placemaker and a good human she understands that the people, character and needs of an area are crucial to create successful places. Places where people feel a strong relationship with their communities and a commitment to make things better.


Frith is one the NZ representatives for the global network Placemaking X and an advocate for the UN ratified New Urban Agenda. She’s a champion for the difference a healthy public realm can make in terms of creating liveable cities. 


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Ms Celia Wade-Brown was Mayor of Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand, from 2010 - 2016. She was elected Councillor for fourteen years previously.

Prior to her local government career, Celia was a programmer, teacher and IT analyst. Born in London, UK, she has worked in Europe, Africa and Australia.

Mayor Wade-Brown led the establishment of Wellington Water and the Regional Economic Agency but firmly resisted wholesale Council amalgamation. She strengthened business and cultural relationships between cities in Asia and Wellington. She was a founding member of the New Zealand Internet Society and also the founding Chair of the 2020Trust, which promotes digital literacy. In 2002 Ms Wade-Brown founded Living Streets Aotearoa, a walking advocacy organisation, and was inaugural President until 2009. She led Wellington’s entry into both Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities and the Biophilic Cities Network. Wellington became the first New Zealand Council to introduce a Living Wage.

Connecting walking access along Wellington’s wild South Coast, upgrading quirky laneways, installing signage for pedestrian shortcuts,  initiating the world-first trans-gender traffic lights, increasing cycling facilities, reducing speed limits in suburban centres, resisting a flyover and supporting public transport have been  integral to Ms Wade-Brown’s political career. She has effectively recognised the value of cultural diversity, adding Asian, African and European events to the city’s calendar.

After standing down as Mayor, Ms Wade-Brown has been appointed to Biophilic Cities Network Advisory Board, Walk21 Foundation, Living Streets Aotearoa, Te Araroa Trust and Predator Free Wellington. She remains Patron of the Friends of Taputeranga Marine Reserve and the African Film Festival and on the Great Harbour Way Trust. She co-chairs the Wellington Sea Kayak Network.



LYDIA SHERIDAN: Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland

Head of Marketing and Communications, Panuku Development Auckland

Lydia Sheridan is a marketing and communications expert, specialising in urban regeneration. She is passionate about strategic urban planning and the difference it can make people’s lives.

Internationally, regeneration agencies grapple with creating a connection between short-term or immediate projects and how they contribute to the long-term vision for a city.

Thanks to Lydia’s 13 years’ experience she understands how to take complex urban planning concepts and describe them in a way that is inspiring; winning over communities in time of change.

Her strategic approach includes an open, honest and frank attitude to explaining the multifaceted and sometimes difficult journey we must go on to create a rich living experience, strong communities and good urban environments.

Lydia currently heads up the communications and marketing team at Panuku Development Auckland. Her team of eight look after urban regeneration projects across Auckland – from wealthy seaside suburbs to communities in need.

While in this role, Lydia has transformed the way the organisation speaks about itself to reflect its mission and ethos. She’s also investigating the individual identities of each Panuku’s neighbourhoods so the organisation’s approach can reflect and respect the places in which its work programmes exist.

Lydia has experience in journalism, publicity, digital, communications and marketing across architecture, the arts, tourism and flagship retail brands. Her career highlights include working on the opening of the Len Lye Centre in New Plymouth and The Lighthouse by Michael Parekowhai on Queens Wharf in Auckland.

She lives the urban dream in central Auckland with her husband Karl, their greyhound and cat.



JEANETTE WARD: Christchurch

Technical Director at Abley and Chair of the Engineering NZ Transportation Group

Jeanette is a Chartered Engineer specialising in transportation.  She enjoys streetscape design and walking/cycling projects, and particularly enjoys the public engagement aspects of projects.  Jeanette regularly speaks at conferences and industry events where she can express her passion for creating amazing spaces.  She has two teenage sons who laugh at her obsession with taking transport photos on holiday.


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MAKERE CARROLL Tāmaki Makaurau

Ngāti Tuwharetoa, Ngāti Kahu

Communications and Stakeholder Engagement Consultant, Aurecon

Makere Carroll is a communications and stakeholder engagement consultant with experience on major infrastructure projects such as the City Rail Link and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency’s Papakura to Bombay project. Makere draws on her life and professional experiences to strengthen partnerships between Mana Whenua, Māori and government agencies. She is a fluent Te Reo Māori speaker and uses this as a tool to tautoko (support) her skills in engaging with communities around Aotearoa.


Makere contributes to Aurecon’s Diversity and Inclusion aspirations by working with leaders to create a work environment that is inclusive of Te Ao Māori. She has also supported the company with its initiatives to hire more Māori and Pasifika rangatahi (youth) at intern and graduate levels.

Makere’s hope for the future is to see more Māori and Pasifika in senior positions within the engineering and other infrastructure industries. This will enable more diverse ways of thinking - ensuring infrastructure projects are designed with their communities in mind, and provide great career paths and role models.


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DR NATALIE ALLEN: Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland

Director, Urban Strategist + Designer at The Urban Advisory

Natalie works across the public, private, and community sectors to make the seemingly complex simple when it comes to designing and delivering our built environment. Natalie specialises in designing neighbourhoods that enhance wellbeing and is passionate about supporting the delivery of quality, resilient, and people-centric projects.


She has a background in architecture, urban design, and urban governance and extensive research experience across a range of critical urban topics: integrated urban planning and community visioning, urban growth and increasing density, and housing preferences and demand. She maintains wide-ranging industry networks and mentors many up and coming urbanists.



JESSICA ROSE: Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland

Programme Manager, HLC; Elected Member, Albert-Eden Local Board

Jessica has served on the committee for Frocks on Bikes, and also for Bike Auckland as a champion for a safer and more connected transport network for women.  Her professional roles cover placemaking, community building, governance, and strategy.  She has written for several online publications, including The Spinoff and recently presented at the Urban Design Forum.  Recently, she has participated on panels such as Auckland Conversations and Dutch Cycling Embassy,  hosted and presented at PechaKucha events, and MC’d events held by Unitec, Women in Urbanism, Auckland Transport, and Auckland Council. 


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