Steering the city of sails

Steering the city of sails add

Rod Marler heads the Place Shaping team at Panuku Development Auckland, Auckland Council’s $2 billion dollar property company. Panuku brings together private sector expertise with public sector knowledge in an entity set to deliver great places for the people of Auckland.

Panuku Development Auckland has a 'clear mandate to get on and get things done', Rod says.

"The projects we work on are complex and you need an entity with special powers and a unique skillset to be able to deliver."

With a degree in Architecture, an MBA and more than 30 years' experience leading large and complex projects including Auckland’s Waterfront Plan, the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan, and a Waterfront Plan for Apia, Rod says community engagement 'done well' is key to community buy in and delivery.

"For each project, the biggest lesson for me was, you have to involve community in the process - allowing the community not only to take part, but also to be taken seriously. Engagement needs to be an authentic process where the public is given a voice and the tangible results of that input can be seen in the outcomes."

Rod's approach to managing projects is to 'get the right people together and let them get on with it'.

"There’s no 'one size fits all' to the type of projects we work on. We identify what we need to achieve and then build the team with the requisite skills. The team then has relative autonomy and does the thinking. I see myself as more of a conductor who provides the environment where the innovations and ideas can come to the fore.

"Council's role is around policy setting, monitoring and policing. We're place, design and delivery focussed, with the Unitary Plan as the enabling document."

Rod says Panuku recently shifted focus from being design-led to a place-led entity.
Place shaping consists of best practice project design and master planning, engagement and stakeholder involvement, sustainability and economic development. Rod’s team ensure developments reflect the character and needs of the area with a view to capitalising on a community’s assets.

“Designers are really good listeners and it’s a"large part of their role - to articulate stakeholder's stories and vision. Really we are communicators and we have a responsibility to be truthful and authentic and to bring about outcomes that reflect those stories and visions."

ADNZ CEO Astrid Andersen expects Rod Marler will be able to reveal some interesting insights at the 2016 ADNZ Conference, held in Auckland 26-29 October.

"The mixed model of public and private entity is proving an effective approach to public master planning. Ōtākaro Ltd has been established in Christchurch to deliver key rebuild projects. Rod’s address will be an area of particular interest for members interested in public sector and community opportunities," Andersen says.

Visit and for more information on the ADNZ 2016 Conference.