A Look into the Life of a Graduate Planner at Woods


Officially joining the Woods planning team in November 2022 off the back of completing her Bachelor of Urban Planning (Hons), Monique’s journey at Woods has been both exciting and transformative. This past year has been a period of growth, learning, and making a real impact.

Now, she’s giving us a look into what it’s like being a Graduate Planner at Woods.


Being a planner at Woods

At Woods, my projects mostly involve preparing resource consent applications for bulk earthworks, subdivisions such as the Milldale development, and integrated residential developments. This includes crafting comprehensive reports that evaluate the potential effects of a proposed development on the environment, neighbouring properties, and the community.

These reports serve as a vital component of the planning process, helping to ensure that projects align with the regulatory framework while also considering their impact on the broader community and environment.

One of the most valuable aspects of my role is the opportunity to engage with a diverse range of projects, from large-scale projects to smaller, more intricate ones. This range of work keeps me engaged and constantly challenged, contributing to my ongoing professional development.


Managing challenges

Working on challenging projects has been an important aspect of my experience at Woods, with one standout example being an integrated housing development in central Auckland. This project challenged me as it involved construction on a floodplain, along with navigating numerous infringements to the Auckland Unitary Plan.

What made the process smoother was the support of our Water Infrastructure & Planning team, which proved to be an invaluable resource, facilitating effective communication and problem-solving, ultimately contributing to the successful completion of the project and securing resource consent for our client.

At Woods, I, like the rest of our team, can tap into the expertise of professionals from various disciplines. This collaborative environment enables all of us to be present throughout the project and gain valuable insights that contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of the entire process. And for myself as a graduate, this level of collaboration has been key to my experience and growth.


The Future of Planning

The experience and mentorship I’ve received at Woods has also allowed me to look to the future of planning in New Zealand as our cities continue to grow.

As cities evolve, environmental concerns such as increased rainfall and floods demand more attention.

New Zealand is undergoing significant reforms in its planning and development sector, marked by the replacement of the Resource Management Act with three new pieces of legislation aimed at better addressing modern environmental and societal challenges, including climate change and urban growth.

Alongside this, the Affordable Water Reform is revamping the water services sector to enhance affordability and efficiency, increasing the number of water services.

These changes represent a dynamic period of transition for industry players like Woods. As a planner at Woods, I have had the opportunity not just to reflect on these reforms but also to adapt to them.


Working at Woods

Aside from having the opportunity to work on a range of projects and be a part of wider industry changes, one of the most enjoyable aspects of this role is the opportunity to witness the entire development process from start to finish.

Along with getting the opportunity to work with a wide range of disciplines, I have enjoyed the social aspects of working at Woods, from the Friday afternoon barbeques to the regular social events throughout the year (lawn bowls, laser tag, and boat cruise to name a few), and playing in the summer sports teams for cricket and touch. 

As I look ahead, I am excited by the opportunity to contribute to the evolving landscape of New Zealand’s cities and communities, armed with the knowledge and experience that being at Woods has afforded me.

It is clear that as our industry shifts, the role of a planner will only grow in relevance and impact. I am eager to meet this challenge head-on, with Woods as a pivotal platform for my ongoing personal and professional growth.

Interested in a career at Woods? Visit our careers page for more information.