Work / Field Shops

Work Shops and Field Shops

To ensure our delegates are fully immersed in the Reform or Transform experience, RMLA’s Work Shops on the Friday will keep you invigorated at the venue, while the Field Shops break our delegates out of the conference room, giving them first-hand insight into Wellington’s unique attributes.

Our Field Shops address the resource management challenges that Wellington’s unique characteristics present, from new housing supply, infrastructure design and delivery, to re-gentrification and renewal of older urban areas, through to conservation of natural habitats.

Download the latest Conference Programme by CLICKING HERE

Friday Work Shops

Friday Workshops

Does the RMA enable or hinder NZ’s transition to a low carbon economy?

The Government has announced targets of 100% renewables by 2035 and net zero carbon emissions by 2050.  Does the RMA support the energy sector’s move away from fossil fuels?

Legal counsel from Transpower NZ Ltd and Meridian Energy will introduce this panel session focusing on the opportunities and challenges within the energy sector.  They will present their on-the-ground perspectives on the RMA’s two energy national policy statements.  Then a diverse and experienced panel will provide their perspectives on whether the RMA is up to the task of reconciling competing policy tensions and enabling NZ’s transition to low-emissions energy.

Introducing the session

Dhilum Nightingale, Corporate Counsel – RMA, Transpower NZ Ltd

Humphrey Tapper, Associate General Counsel – RMA, Meridian Energy Ltd


Dr Keith Turner, Member, Interim Climate Change Committee

Bridget Irving, Partner, Gallaway Cook Allan and Counsel for Blueskin Energy Ltd (NZ’s first community windfarm project)

Associate Professor Ralph Chapman, School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences, Victoria University, Wellington

Dr Greg Severinsen, Senior Policy Researcher, Environmental Defence Society

Tom Bennion, Barrister, Bennion Law and lecturer, Victoria University, Wellington

Sally Gepp, Environmental lawyer, Royal Forest and Bird Society


Collaborative approaches are a developing feature of resource management in New Zealand. This workshop will include presentations on the application of collaborative models to the ‘approvals’ processes, with input from Greater Wellington Regional Council, New Zealand Transport Agency, Wellington Water, Russell McVeagh and Stantec.

It will explore the motivations for applying collaborative models, what has worked well and things that could be improved on.


Back by popular demand, the YRMLA invites you to the Wellington Environment Court to witness a Mock Hearing. This practical, interactive event promises to both inform and entertain as you learn ‘tips and tricks’ from top industry players from the legal and planning professions.

You’ll even be able to get inside the mind of an Environment Court Judge or Commissioner, with the Mock Hearing being presided over by a very special guest. This event is open to all Conference attendees, but will be particularly useful for practitioners with 5 or fewer years of experience in their field.

Transport between the Conference and Mock Hearing venues will be provided, so book now!

Ministry for the Environment workshop

The MfE team will lead a Resource Legislation Amendment Act 2017 (RLAA) workshop.

The RLAA involved a large number of changes involving national direction, plan making, Māori participation and consenting. The majority of the changes came into force on 18 October 2017.  This workshop is intended to be a form of ‘implementation health check’ to understand the policy and practice issues relating to these changes to the RMA.  It will be interactive with the aim to gain feedback from practitioners on practical aspects of implementation.

This workshop will focus on the plan-making and consenting changes of RLAA.  Be prepared to engage with fellow practitioners on the RLAA changes and to voice your opinion on implementation and guidance, and potentially, on any policy changes deemed necessary.

Academic Advisory Group – Water

Professor Robin Kundis-Craig, University of Utah, leads a workshop on water policy and law in the US context and lessons for New Zealand.

Saturday Field Shops

New Zealand’s Energy Chain

Having a secure energy supply is fundamental to New Zealand society. NZ is moving fast towards a carbon neutral and increasingly electrified future and renewable energy generation needs to play a key role. This field trip will take you on a behind the scenes look at NZ’s energy chain starting with Meridian’s largest wind farm at West Wind on Terawhiti Station and Makara Farm west and moving to transmission, where you will experience an up close and personal view of critical National Grid infrastructure (either Haywards substation with its AC DC conversion technology) or Oteranga Bay to see how the Cook Strait cable brings the South Island’s hydrogeneration up to the North Island). Engineers and planners from both Meridian and Transpower will take you through some of the technical and planning issues involved with both power generation and transmission. PPE gear will be provided.


Join us for a private tour of ZEALANDIA with an expert guide followed by a quiet drink at the Rata Café. ZEALANDIA was the world’s first fully-fenced urban ecosanctuary, with a 500-year vision to restore a Wellington valley’s forest and freshwater ecosystems as closely as possible to their pre-human state. The 225 hectare ecosanctuary has reintroduced 18 species of native wildlife back into the area, 6 of which were previously absent from mainland New Zealand for over 100 years. A practical example of taking direct action to achieve a transformation, with an interesting history of the challenges in successfully establishing and continuing the initiative. Wellingtonians know what a difference the existence of the eco-sanctuary has made to the wildlife throughout the City.

Resilience & Regeneration

CentrePort is New Zealand’s most strategically situated intermodal hub, linking road, rail, domestic and international shipping services. The port plays a vital role in central New Zealand’s economic growth and prosperity, contributing $2.5BN and affecting 21,000 jobs. It also plays a key national role as part of the passenger and freight connection between the North and South Islands. The 2016 Kaikōura earthquake demonstrated CentrePort’s strategic importance to the capital and the country and it has embarked on an extensive programme of work to increase business resilience, and plan for significant future growth.

Join CentrePort for a tour of its commercial port. Gain insights into CentrePort’s operation, its resilience work and future development plans.  Finish the Fieldshop by sea, with the opportunity to see the port by kayak in Wellington Harbour, or gain a birds-eye view of the Port with drinks and canapés at Bell Gully.

Riverlink- Better flood protection, transport and lifestyle for Lower Hutt

The RiverLink project will deliver better flood protection, better lifestyle and improved transport links for the people of central Lower Hutt. It is a project that reflects in the collaboration between its partners, the Greater Wellington Regional Council, Hutt City Council and the New Zealand Transport Agency as well as the community, to achieve three main objectives for the Lower Hutt CBD; better flood protection outcomes, urban rejuvenation and better transport links.  The project involves the upgrade of the flood protection structures, connecting the Lower Hutt CBD to the Hutt River, contributing to a more vibrant city centre and improvements to the transport connections at Melling intersection.

Join us for a walking tour along the beautiful Hutt River to hear about the outcomes that can be achieved from three different agencies with different objectives, working together. During the tour, you will get to see how the existing environment is proposed to be transformed to deliver the project objectives and joint benefits and hear about the challenges encountered along the journey from the key partners and how these were overcome.

The rainy day alternative will be a bus tour through Lower Hutt discussing the same issues. 

See first-hand 104 brand new modern social houses, the first of a new wave of properties which Wellington City Council will build over the next 10 years. The modular design of these houses is a first for New Zealand and allows them to be reconfigured to fit the needs of the families who will be housed there.

City Housing staff will provide an engaging overview of site development, successful management of tenant relocation challenges, and how the development augments the larger Housing Strategy.

You will also visit examples of the older housing stock which makes up a sizeable percentage of the Housing portfolio and hear about  the challenges of keeping upgrade and maintenance in step with ever-evolving legislation, before taking a walking tour to visit  other City Housing properties including Central Park Apartments. The Central Park and the neighbouring Berkeley Dallard Apartments are flagships in terms City Housing’s upgrade programme and here you will embark on an interactive journey of the properties’ upgrade.

The tour will wrap up with beer tasting at the Whistling Sisters.

TRANSforming our Built Environment – Urban Design and Heritage 

This walking tour of the central city will include preservation or archaeological sites in an urban context, significant heritage buildings which are being strengthened and adaptively reused, and will explore the transformation of inner city laneways at Eva and Lombard Street.  A visit to the Wellington Chocolate Factory and cheese and wine in a heritage pub will be included.

Parliament Tour

Delegates will explore parts of the Parliament buildings, learn about the parliamentary process and find out how you can participate in New Zealand’s democracy while accompanied by one of parliament’s knowledgeable tour guides. Along the way you will be able to see some of the many artworks and objects contained in the Parliamentary Collection.

The tour will conclude with a visit to the Backbencher ‘pub’ for light refreshments.

Wellington’s water supply services must be capable of reliably meeting user demands, have capacity to cope with the city’s population and business growth, and be able to withstand or be quickly repaired following a significant seismic event. This fieldshop showcases Wellington Water’s service delivery from source to discharge. Join Wellington Water for a tour of the Wellington Region, commencing at the Wainuiomata Water treatment plant, located in a pristine catchment, travelling through to Prince of Wales park to hear about the latest water storage project, then travelling on to the Moa Point waste water treatment plant. Hear from key parties involved about how Wellington Water is working towards enhancing resilience and water security within the Wellington Region.

Come join us for a mountain biking experience through the award winning, purpose built Makara Peak Mountain Bike Park set in 250 hectares of bird filled native bush right here in Wellington. This field shop, led by female and male guides, caters from beginners through to more advanced riders. Makara Peak is not just a mountain bike park, it is also a conservation park home to a variety of native plants and animals at various stages of regeneration that make up an important of Wellington’s Outer Green Belt.

A tour that looks at the changing face of Wellington reflected in its graveyards and their occupants. Starting at the inner historical cemeteries we will look at and hear the stories of historical figures that have shaped Wellington and New Zealand during its formation.

We will then move forward through time looking at historical events and social movements reflected in the memorials to these events and their key players. Finishing at Karori we will see the operation of the modern facility.

*This programme may be subject to change at any time.

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