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


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

Boffa Miskell delivers with BIM

Embracing innovative technologies is nothing new for Boffa Miskell – and the company initiative to advance its design team’s capability in Building Information Modelling (BIM) is moving at a rapid pace.

10 August 2018

A Landscape Architect’s Approach to Waterplay

Sarah Collins presented "A Landscape Architect's Approach to Waterplay" at the 2018 Green Pavlova Conference. The event showcases thought leadership and best-practice in recreation, sport and play.

2 August 2018

Is your project near fresh water? Here’s what you need to know

Many of New Zealand’s plant and animal species are protected by various legislation, including the Resource Management Act 1991, Conservation Act 1987, Wildlife Act 1953, and Freshwater Fisheries Regulations 1983. What this means is that generally it’s illegal to destroy, harm, or kill many of New Zealand’s species and their habitat. This issue will focus on freshwater fishes and what you need to know when working in and near waterways. Following issues will tell you what you need to know about lizards, bats, and other indigenous fauna.

18 January 2018

The far-reaching benefits of ‘co-design’

Collaborative ‘co-design’ helps clients, communities and other stakeholders to actively engage and forge constructive relationships – relationships that endure in the ongoing sense of empowerment, belonging and pride in the places created.

26 July 2017

What’s in a playground?

Children are hard-wired to play. So why are designed play spaces needed?

22 December 2016

Beaumont Quarter medium-density housing revisited

Ten years’ on, a medium-density mixed-use housing area in central Auckland is upheld as a good example of housing due to its architectural diversity and strong landscape design.

10 November 2016

Building enduring, functional neighbourhoods by involving the community

Housing shortage is an urgent issue – yet, urgency should not over-ride community engagement for long-term, high quality design outcomes.

17 August 2016

Ecology Walking Tours with the Auckland Office

Boffa Miskell’s staff have been holding internal walk and talk sessions to explore local urban environment ecology to understand New Zealand’s plants better.

31 March 2016

New life for Te Puke >

Communities working towards a shared vision

3 April 2013

Palmerston North City Centre Framework >

Helping Palmerston North City Council develop a cohesive framework for its city centre.

3 April 2013

New village hub >

Helping to translate a community’s wishes into a tangible, though flexible, plan.

1 November 2012

Graphics & Mapping

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

Census mapping delivered!

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

3 April 2013


Meet the Boffa Miskell ecology team: Scott Hooson

In his role at Boffa Miskell, Scott Hooson's natural habitat spans the South Island wetlands, estuaries, lakes, streams, grasslands, shrublands and forests from coastal sites to the alpine zone.

2 August 2018

Is your project near bat habitat? Here’s what you need to know

New Zealand has two species of native bat, both of which are of conservation concern. The long-tailed bat is classified as ‘Nationally Critical’ and the lesser short-tailed bat has three sub-species, all classified as ‘At Risk’ or ‘Threatened’.

2 August 2018

Lagarosiphon: the journey from home aquariums to our lakes and waterways

Lagarosiphon major may not be a name you know, but once you have seen a photo you’ll probably recognise it as the oxygen weed that you had in your fish pond or aquarium when you were a kid.

2 August 2018

Revised threatened plant classification – what does it mean for you?

Last month, the Department of Conservation re-classified a number of New Zealand plants as 'threatened' (402) or 'at-risk' (851). Ecologist Ian Boothroyd, a senior principal and technical leader in our Auckland Office, examines how this change might affect Councils and developers.

9 July 2018

Strategies and success against invasive aquatic plants

The words 'predator-free' and 'pest-control' usually bring to mind animals like possums and rodents; but for New Zealand lakes and rivers, biosecurity threats are more likely to involve weeds and plants.

4 May 2018

Meet the Boffa Miskell ecology team: Tessa Roberts

In her role at Boffa Miskell, Wellington-based ecologist Tessa Roberts blends a passion for the environment with keen analytical skills. She has been part of the on-going environmental assessment and monitoring teams on major infrastructure projects, including Transmission Gully and the MacKay’s to Peka Peka Expressway.

20 April 2018

Does your project involve native lizards? Here’s what you need to know.

New Zealand's native lizards are all protected under various legislation. If your project site is near their habitat, you'll need to follow the required protocols.

20 April 2018

Opinion: Dr Sharon De Luca on the value of mangroves

The values of mangroves in New Zealand are often misrepresented and misunderstood, and this has led, in some cases, to mismanagement and unanticipated adverse ecological outcomes. 

20 April 2018

Opinion: Ecologist Sarah Flynn on the question of non-native plants

Are we being too precious about native vs. exotic plantings?

27 March 2018

Swale trial seeks better solutions

What is the most effective method for establishing stormwater wetland vegetation?

24 August 2015

Opinion: do cats have a future in New Zealand? >

From Gareth Morgan’s call for more responsible cat ownership, to a recent news item that the Auckland Council plans to put down any stray cats that have not been micro-chipped, it’s been a tough year for felines. Much is made of the impacts that cats can have on our indigenous wildlife, and this has driven debate on where cats might fit into any strategy to reduce or eradicate predators from New Zealand.

18 January 2018

Meet the Boffa Miskell ecology team: Georgia Cummings >

Since joining Boffa Miskell five years ago, ecologist Georgia Cummings has surveyed and monitored flora and fauna in forest, coastal, wetland and agricultural systems, and worked on projects as diverse as wind farms, wetland restoration, residential subdivisions, large infrastructure projects and urban parks.

18 January 2018

Electric fishing: rescuing precious taonga >

Electric fishing is a harmless technique used to survey freshwater fish populations. What exactly is involved?

3 March 2017

Special permits needed for aquatic work  >

Our aquatic environments are increasingly in the public gaze: people want to know whether or not water quality and aquatic life is being adequately protected.

26 September 2016

Ecology en route in Wellington >

Our ecologists are assisting the NZ Transport Agency with the ecological assessments of two important transport projects in Wellington.

15 December 2015

Manu the drone tackles biosecurity >

A new drone, used by Boffa Miskell and LINZ for biosecurity work and recently demonstrated in a virtual field trip, has been named 'Manu’ – the winning name in a nation-wide schools competition.

22 July 2015

Planning for Auckland’s streams >

How are changes to the classification and management of rivers and streams in the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan likely to affect landowners and developers?

14 April 2015

Search and Rescue >

When looking for a vulnerable wetland to protect, where does one start?

11 July 2014

Auckland view shafts through another lens >

When contentious landscape planning issues come up for debate, robust assessment methodology helps inform stakeholders and decision-makers alike.

10 June 2014

Ecological baseline informs the future >

Surveying macroinvertebrate and fish communities as well as the in-stream and riparian habitat conditions at sites destined for rehabilitation works in Christchurch.

10 June 2014

Riparian plant selection made easy >

Landowners in the Waikato and Waipa River catchments can now easily plan riparian planting along their waterways, using a new Boffa Miskell-designed plant selection tool.

1 August 2013

Is offsetting sustainable? >

How, under the RMA, to offset biodiversity values lost during source development projects?

3 April 2013

Moving fish out of harm's way >

Native fish mortality - is it an inevitable consequence of construction works in watercourses?

3 April 2013

Wind farm knowledge expanded >

For the first time in New Zealand, the results of a long-term avian monitoring programme at an operating wind farm have been published: the results substantiating our ecologist’s predictions about how the working turbines would affect birdlife at the site.

3 April 2013

Island ecology under care >

Just 210 metres offshore in the Taputeranga Marine Reserve on Wellington’s south coast, Tapu Te Ranga Island is a well-known natural and landscape feature with recognised conservation value.

1 November 2012

Long-term monitoring provides powerful data >

Data from a long-term native fish monitoring project in Waitakere, Auckland, illustrates the benefits of longterm monitoring and the limitations of one-off sampling.

1 November 2012

Landscape planning

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: 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

Complex projects – the planner’s role

Our planners are frequently involved in large projects that require multi-disciplinary input and the resolution of complex environmental planning issues. The recent NZ King Salmon Board of Inquiry case was one such instance, as Sarah Dawson explains. What was the nature and outcome of the NZ King Salmon application? NZ King Salmon wished to establish …

3 April 2013

Special Housing Areas on fast track >

With the first Special Housing Areas in the Bay of Plenty approved, Boffa Miskell is assisting several landowners and developers through the consenting process, to enable construction as soon as possible.

16 April 2015

Careful planning for retail development >

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

1 August 2013

Wind farm approved >

Permission is granted for Meridian Energy to build and run Hurunui Wind in North Canterbury.

1 August 2013

Cultural heritage

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