Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Remote Pacific atoll challenge lures Christchurch planner

MEDIA RELEASE

25 August 2014


Remote Pacific atoll challenge lures Christchurch planner

How do you come up with an urban development plan for a city which consists of tiny islets connected by causeways located in a remote Pacific atoll and subject to flooding on the next king tide?

That’s the unique challenge facing Christchurch planner and NZPI member Shifani Sood who is heading to Kiribati (pronounced Kiribas) next month to take up a role as an Urban Planning Advisor.

Shifani will be going it alone for the year long Volunteer Service Abroad (VSA) assignment, and she is believed to be the first planning volunteer from New Zealand to venture to Kiribati. She is busy raising funds for VSA and her upcoming adventure, which she says will be no holiday in paradise.

“Kiribati is not a tropical island – there will be no lying on beautiful beaches or cocktails by the pool.

It will be a choice between boiled water, not cooled, or coconut water to drink in year round average temperature of around 31 degrees Celsius. To add to that, most of the Tarawa Lagoon is not suitable for swimming.

“There are no fruit or vegetables produced there so I have been told to expect a diet of swamp taro, coconut, fish (a lot of tuna), sea cucumber and maybe bananas for one month of the year ‘if the boat arrives’.

Kiribati, which has the highest sea to land ratio in the world, is made up of a 32 atolls in the middle of the Pacific Ocean about a four hour flight from Fiji, its closest neighbouring country. It has a combined population of just over 100,000.

Shifani will be based in the capital, South Tarawa, on an atoll about 1km wide, 28km long and 3m high at its highest point. Tarawa is the only part of Kiribati considered ‘urban’ housing more than half the nation’s population with a density of 2,250 people per square kilometre. Most i-Kiribati live in slum like conditions with poor sanitation facilities.

“There are no tourist facilities. There is one road and I’m told that it can take anywhere between three quarters of an hour to an hour and half to travel from end to end. There are two flights a week but most of the time the airstrip is used for partying, drying clothes and driving motorbikes very fast because it is the smoothest road on the island.”

Shifani will be working for The Ministry of Environment, Lands and Development helping to ensure the Kiribati capital develops in a structured manner that leads to more efficient use of land areas.

“I took the challenge on because I wanted to see planning from a fresh perspective and be involved in something where I could make a real difference. The key thing will be to leave something in place that the local community can carry on. ”

Shifani is most looking forward to the geographic and technological isolation with little or no connectivity to the ‘outside’ world, as well as working with the local community to understand what they want from an urban development plan. She is spending time with Christchurch’s Kiribati community in preparation for her journey.

“The people are absolutely lovely and the Kiribati community here has really embraced me and encouraged me. Their nationally loved sport is volleyball which they play tirelessly and I have been honing my skills with them here in Christchurch.”

Shifani says a priority will be to learn the local Kiribati language as quickly as possible when she arrives there in September and is looking forward to discovering what impression, if any, the locals have of the planning issues, compared to hers.

NZPI CEO Susan Houston admires Shifani’s willingness to take up such an incredible challenge.

“It’s great that she is prepared to take her planning skills and apply them to this unique challenge and I am sure the stories she has to tell will inspire other NZPI members around the country,” Ms Houston says.

Shifani is volunteering with VSA, which is New Zealand’s largest and most experienced volunteer agency working in international development. VSA brings together New Zealanders and our Asia-Pacific neighbours to share their skills and experience, working to transform lives and create a fair future for all.

To help Shifani with her volunteer assignment please visit www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/shifanisood. Follow her Kiribati adventure at http://shifanisood.wordpress.com/.

For more information on VSA please visit www.vsa.org.nz.

Ends.

New Zealand Planning Institute (NZPI)

The NZPI is the voice of planning in New Zealand. It is the professional organisation representing this country’s planners, resource managers, urban designers, and environmental practitioners. Planners have a critical role in shaping New Zealand’s future by helping to develop solutions to key issues, such as population growth, infrastructure needs, pressure on natural resources and environments, demographic change and transport. For more information visit www.planning.org.nz.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Parliament Kicks Off: Carter Re-Elected Speaker

The 51st Parliament held its commission opening today with MPs sworn in and David Carter elected Speaker.

The day began at 11am with the three Royal Commissioners – the Chief Justice, the Court of Appeal President, and the Chief High Court Judge – declaring the new Parliament open.

After the Commissioners left the Chamber the swearing in of MPs took place in alphabetical order. Unlike some previous openings all MPs managed to swear on the bible or affirm their oath without any hiccups... More>>

 

Labour: Review Team Named, Leadership Campaign Starts

Labour’s New Zealand Council has appointed Bryan Gould as Convenor of its post-General Election Review. He will be joined on the Review Team by Hon Margaret Wilson, Stacey Morrison and Brian Corban.

ALSO:


Roy Morgan Poll: National Slips, Labour Hits Lows

The first New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll since the NZ Election shows National 43.5% (down 3.54% since the September 20 Election). This isn’t unusual, National support has dropped after each of John Key’s Election victories... However, support for the main opposition Labour Party has crashed to 22.5% (down 2.63% and the lowest support for Labour since the 1914 NZ Election as United Labour). More>>

ALSO:

In On First Round: New Zealand Wins Security Council Seat

Prime Minister John Key has welcomed New Zealand securing a place on the United Nations Security Council for the 2015-16 term. More>>

ALSO:

TPP Leak: Intellectual Property Text Confirms Risk - Jane Kelsey

The US is continuing its assault on generic medicines through numerous proposed changes to patent laws. ‘These are bound to impact on Pharmac if they are accepted’, according to Professor Kelsey... Copyright is another area of ongoing sensitivity... More>>

ALSO:

RMA: Smith Plans Reform To Ease Urban Development

Newly appointed Environment Minister Nick Smith has announced Resource Management Act reform to foster urban development, where high land prices and expensive resource consents are blocking efforts to provide affordable housing. More>>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On New Zealand getting involved (again) in other people's wars

Apparently, the Key government is still pondering how New Zealand will contribute to the fight against Islamic State. Long may it ponder, given the lack of consensus among our allies as to how to fight IS, where to fight it (Syria, Iraq, or both?) and with whose ground troops, pray tell? More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On child poverty, and David Shearer’s latest outburst

The politicisation of (a) the public service and (b) the operations of the Official Information Act have been highlighted by the policy advice package on child poverty that RNZ’s resolute political editor Brent Edwards has finally prised out of the Ministry of Social Development. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On the government’s review of security laws

So the Key government is about to launch a four week review of the ability of our existing legislation to deal with “suspected and returning foreign terrorist fighters, and other violent extremists.”

According to its terms of reference, the review will consider whether the SIS, GCSB and Police are sufficiently able right now to (a) investigate and monitor suspected and returning foreign terrorist fighters… More>>

ALSO:

Labour Davids: Lisa Owen Interviews David Shearer

David Shearer still mulling whether to stand for Labour leadership but says his family doesn’t think it’s a good idea. Declares that it will be “incredibly divisive” for the Labour caucus if David Cunliffe returns to the role of leader. More>>

ALSO:

Taser Use & False Evidence: Timaru Officers "Failed To Follow Good Policing Practice"

The Authority found that even if Mr Reuben’s contact with the officer was deliberate it amounted to only a minor assault. While it found the use of the OC spray was justified, the use of the Taser was not a proportionate response... More>>

ALSO:

Little Surprise: Andrew Little To Contest Labour Leadership

I have decided to contest the Labour Party leadership. There are three immediate issues to deal with: creating greater cohesion across the caucus, rebuilding the relationship between caucus and the Party and, most importantly getting the process under way to listen to the voters who have abandoned us... More>>

ALSO:

Two Fewer Votes In Recount: "Positive Result" - Harawira

When I applied for a recount of the votes from the Tai Tokerau election, I made it clear that this application was not aimed at overturning the election result, but ensuring that all votes cast by Maori were treated with due respect, regardless of whether those votes are for Labour, Maori Party or MANA. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news