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during the 2016 New Zealand Planning Institute conference for 2016 held in Dunedin, New Zealand, from April 12-15, 2016.

Last week at the 2016 New Zealand Planning Institute (NZPI) Conference: Over the Rainbow held in Dunedin, MWH Global’s Megan Couture was presented with the Lance Leikis NZPI Young Planner Award. The Lance Leikis NZPI Young Planner Award is presented from time to time to a Graduate Member of the New Zealand Planning Institute. The award recognises a significant contribution by a Graduate Member of the profession to planning in practice, research or Institute affairs.

Megan started her career at MWH in November 2013 after completing the Masters of Urban Planning programme with honours at the University of Auckland and is currently providing the planning team with support in the development of statutory applications for a number of projects and has gained significant experience in the preparation of Assessment of Environmental Effects (AEE) under the Resource Management Act (RMA).

Since joining MWH, Megan has been highly active with the Planning and Young Professional communities. At MWH Megan is currently the Young Professionals Group Leader for New Zealand, coordinating the 6 Regional Young Professionals Leaders within MWH in New Zealand. As part of this role Megan is responsible for the budget allocation and coordinates community outreach campaigns such as the Oxfam Water Challenge, which last year raised over $6000 to support Oxfam’s Melanasian WASH Project. Alongside her charity work with YPG, Megan also organises and helps to facilitate industry networking events and professional development opportunities to enable Young Professionals within MWH to reach their full potential, such as the 101 sessions for Planning in New Zealand.

Outside of MWH Megan has sought out multiple opportunities to be involved in the planning community. She became a member of the NZ Young Planners in 2013. As part of her role on the YP committee she has helped to organise and facilitate events, and was heavily involved in planning  the 2015 YP Congress. Not content to just assist with the Young Planners, Megan was also assisted in organising for the wider 2015 NZPI Conference, and recently helped facilitate the NZPI’s “RMA Amendments Workshop” held at the University of Auckland.

After completing her Masters of Urban Planning, Megan was invited to be a member of the University Of Auckland Board Of Studies for the National Institute of Creative Arts and Industries. Acting as the ‘recent graduate’ on the board, she contributes to a wide range of topics affecting both the undergraduate and post-graduate programmes using her unique perspective.

As a former Fulbright Scholar, Megan is also the Auckland Regional Fulbright Alumni Coordinator which entails organising high level networking events and professional development opportunities for some of the brightest minds in the country.

Recently, Megan left the Auckland Young Planners Committee to focus her energy on another planning-related project. The “Planning Collective” was borne out of her work with the PopUp-Globe Theatre project, and will look at ways in which planners can contribute their time to projects that are beneficial to the Auckland community.

Below is the citation from the Award Ceremony:

“The second recipient of the Lance Leikis Award impressed the panel with her contribution to planning practice and research. From a successful and decorated academic career this young lady has quickly developed into a highly skilled, agile and perceptive planner who has contributed to a number of regionally significant projects.  A former Fulbright Scholar and highly valued member of the YP group can I ask you to join me in congratulating Megan Couture on her success in achieving the Lance Leikis Award for 2016.”