We want to put the community at the heart of our decision-making process – but what does authentic engagement and rangatiratanga/leadership look like for one of the biggest challenges of our time - adaptive planning for climate change impacted coastal communities?

It was a journey to develop the climate change adaptive management plan for the community at Dunedin city’s most popular beach, St Clair to St Kilda. Building resilience and clarity for coastal communities is not solely technical, but something the community must be deeply involved in. Through genuine, inclusive, and innovative engagement techniques, the community was put at the heart of Dunedin City Council’s adaptation plan, or rather, journey. This project has received multiple awards across Australasia for its comprehensive and innovative engagement approach.

We will explore the community-oriented approach to the adaptation plan development process and how this establishes a culture of co-stewardship, trust, enhanced risk awareness, and moves towards shared leadership and action.

While, the journey has not been easy, the process demonstrates what can be achieved when we engage authentically and effectively with our communities by using a range of methods to ‘go to the people’ and iterate to continually improve our engagement.

Gemma Greenshields


Gemma’s an award-winning engagement specialist who thrives on enabling people to get involved in shaping their place through inclusive engagement. Her strong interest for our changing futures was demonstrated with her work on climate adaptation planning with the St Clair to St Kilda Coastal Plan which won the NZPI Nancy Northcroft Supreme award and IAP2 Australasian Project of the Year. Personally, she has been through managed retreat, so she brings empathy and insights into her work on our changing futures. She’s passionate about creating robust engagement strategies and strongly believes better project outcomes are achieved by working together.
Concurrent Session C

Rangatiratanga | Toru

Thursday 23 May