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New Zealand Institute of Architects









2022 President's Awards

In 2022, the following people and groups received Te Kāhui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects President’s Awards:

Andrea Bell
Andrea is an excellent architect, with an unerring sense of design and she takes due care and time in everything she does. Her designs are beautiful and sensitive. She and partner Andrew Kissell headed out of Auckland to establish themselves back in the South Island. Andrew is from Invercargill, but it was a return to Andrea’s hometown of Dunedin to set-up their joint practice. She has also become very quickly involved with the local branch and Otago Polytechnic which runs a BAS course, giving back to the profession and to encourage students and graduates coming through. The past two years at Te Kāhui Whaihanga have meant that as a Board we have had no past road map or experience to draw upon and we have had to work our way through uncharted territory. Luckily for me, not for Andrea, she has been the deputy president during the whole of Covid-19. Her calm manner and eye for detail, and great care for people have shone through during this time. This award honours Andrea’s commitment to our Institute.

Jason Benton
Jason has made a huge contribution to our Institute over the past two years. Jason is intelligent, considered and kind. Nothing is ever a problem, and he is exactly the type of person we have needed on our Board during this time, someone who could be relied upon to make the right calls, keep things calm, even and right. His skills as a designer are great too, I love his surf lifesaving building on the waterfront in Papamoa. Every trip that I have had to Tauranga proves how much Jason has contributed to his community, his city and to the network of architects across the Waikato and Bay of Plenty. He’s engendered a collaborative approach, a sense of confidence and brought a great feeling of unity.

Rachel Dodd
Rachel was impressive as one of the speakers at the launch of the Diversity Accord at Parliament in 2020. She talked about the diversity of her practice, Arthouse, in Nelson, where the team includes nine different nationalities, how this came about and how it worked. You could hear the passion she has for her office and for architecture as she spoke, and her talent in good clear communication shone! And her clear thinking was evident as the Nelson & Marlborough Board Director for Te Kāhui Whaihanga from 2016-2021. It is hard being an architect in our smaller centres, especially when you want to bring people together, but Rachel, with her colleague Renée Williamson alongside her, have done this. Even bringing the virtual Local Awards link into their own office to make this happen. 
Such determination and drive are to be rewarded, thanks Rachel.

Neil Fenwick
Neil and Jennie are very much part of the architectural scene in Napier, with their office in Tennyson Street, and their regular café next to Clive Square. This elegant and welcoming pair have added real class and lovely pieces of built work to the city. Now their daughter Tess has taken over with the same amount of style. As the main NZRAB assessor for the Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay region, Neil has been the go-to person for graduates wanting to go through the registration process. He is always approachable, never in a hurry, giving each of us all the time in the world — plus he makes excellent fish curry! Under his careful and kind guidance many of you sitting in this room will have been registered and will agree that Neil is more than deserving of this award.

Teena Hale Pennington
Teena has worked tirelessly and with outstanding resilience over the past two years. Times like this bring out either the best or the worst in people and fortunately for our Institute Teena fits into the first group. Teena and her team have had to navigate through uncharted waters to keep our Institute on a steady route. Numbers of webinars, fronted mainly by Teena herself, encouraging weekly Bulletins, virtual Award ceremonies and visits, ever-changing dates and places, all of these, plus more, were handled in a professional and efficient manner. People from outside our Institute have commented on the excellent quality, high attendances, and consistent delivery. Teena’s dedication to our Institute is outstanding. We are immensely proud to have her as CEO of Te Kāhui Whaihanga and she is well deserving of this long overdue award.

Elisapeta Heta
Elisapeta has contributed tirelessly to Te Kāhui Whaihanga in a number of ways. Her commitment to our Institute is outstanding, and she has been extraordinary. As the inaugural Ngā Aho co-opted Director on the Institute Board, Elisapeta (Ngātiwai, Waikato Tainui) was instrumental in supporting the understanding and gifting of our Māori name, Te Kāhui Whaihanga. She has also provided significant peer support to colleagues and members of Emerge and generously shared personal stories and perspectives on the profession, future and wellbeing. Elisapeta is Principal and leader of Waka Māia at Jasmax, where she has contributed significantly to cultural design outcomes for major projects at the practice. She is also an advocate for change, speaking internationally to provide Māori and Pasifika perspectives on the importance of place to both design and cultural identity. Her industry work includes roles as Co-Chair (2017-2018) and core team member of Architecture+Women between 2013-2018. Between 2016 and 2019 she was a Director on the Board of the New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA) representing Ngā Aho — Aotearoa’s national network of Māori design professionals, during which time she helped implement Te Kawenata o Rata (a covenant) between Ngā Aho and the Institute, recognising Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Alec McDonald
Alec is one of the kindest architects I know. He is at every event that I have attended in Christchurch and always stays in touch with the work Te Kāhui Whaihanga is doing across the country. He was so pleased to meet up with Distinguished Fellow Bill Alington. Bill still talks about how Alec was so kind to him that night. He has worked quietly away as the NZRAB Canterbury Convenor for many years helping hundreds of graduates up and down the country to get registered. He is part of a group of dedicated assessors who work more or less voluntarily in this role guiding graduates through the registration process. There will be several of you in this room who will want to join with me in thanking Alec for this tremendous work. Alec has been involved in keeping the registration process fair and honest and is prepared to speak out to maintain standards and consistency. Alec’s generous and gentle manner makes all of us feel welcome and wanted.

Fiona Sinclair
Fiona Sinclair is a community minded architect who cares about buildings and people. As an architect, author, historian and volunteer she has shone as a great carer of her community. She has worked on the maintaining and repairing of a diverse range of historic buildings including ancient monuments, tenements and a distillery. Her practice philosophy is based on the traditional use of materials and techniques. She teaches regularly at Strathclyde University and brings real projects to the students. During the lockdown in Scotland not only did she help run a GIA Competition on the Duke of Hamilton’s Memorial (entered by some NZ architects), but she also worked as a volunteer handing out activity packs and bags of fruit to struggling Glaswegian families. Throughout her career community has always been at the top of her list. This is a well-deserved award.

Andy Spain
Since moving to New Zealand from the UK almost 20 years ago, photographer Andy Spain has established himself as a talented and generous supporter of the architectural community and a welcome presence in the Capital’s cultural scene. Andy is an acute interpreter and interrogator of architectural projects, and has brought an educated sensibility and fresh perspective to the recording of New Zealand architecture. He brings the same qualities to his photography of the city and scenes of urban life; his talent and enthusiasm are evident in his charming and insightful series of photographs of Wellington’s historic and vibrant Cuba Street. Andy’s energetic pursuit of ways to involve himself with architecture was evident in his enterprising contribution to the 2019 Festival of Architecture, and his insightful podcasts featuring New Zealand photographers testify to his commitment to his own craft. Wellington’s architects have much cause to be grateful for Andy’s skilful presentation of their work to a wider audience, both here and abroad.

Renée Williamson
As the Board Director representing Emerge, our graduate group, Renée’s positive outlook and clear thinking has made sure Emerge is heard at our Board table and beyond. I have been impressed with her clarity of thought, determination and her ability to communicate complex thoughts in the simplest of ways. She has looked after the Emerge members, bringing issues such as redundancies during the March 2020 lockdown, unpaid internships and the need for and importance of pay equity to the table. She is not afraid to stand up to what she sees as wrong, such an admirable quality. At one Board meeting she was sitting in her bedroom in Havelock just after a massive storm, but on Teams you wouldn’t have known the chaos of what was outside her window, as she calmly but surely contributed to our meeting. Good clear communication is essential in any profession, and Renée is an expert at this. As a recently registered architect I am so happy to see someone who I really respect enter our profession as a great role model, well deserving of this award.