Meet our students and graduates

Architecture and Urban Planning undergraduate students


Lusitania Vete

"I chose to do architecture as I enjoyed being creative and logical at the same time. It seemed like a natural choice for me.

"In my first year I learned a lot more than I expected about design and the practicality of designing. It was much deeper thinking than I was used to. We work in open plan, collaborative studio environments which simulates how we will work as professionals. I’ve also spent time in our wood and metal workshops. The technicians are really helpful; they are dedicated to health and safety and teaching you how to use all the tools and materials correctly to produce your work.

"I've been on a study trip to Spain and Portugal, where we presented our work to one of the biggest offices in the world. That exposure to international architects, and getting their feedback, was invaluable. We are also given opportunities to interact with the local industry through the lecture series the School of Architecture and Planning host.

"Architecture is about finding creative solutions to things. If you enjoy being creative and problem solving, and you're committed to working hard, I think you should definitely pursue architecture. I definitely want to become a practicing architect, however I’d also like to explore academia. My options are open, but I like the direction I’m heading in."

Lusitania Vete has just completed her third year of the Bachelor of Architectural Studies (BAS) degree and is moving into the Master of Architecture (Professional) programme.


Kirsten Binnie

"Urban Planning is a very broad degree which includes a lot of the subjects I'd been passionate about in high school; geography, history and design. We go on field trips to suburbs in Auckland and think about what we could do better, to make it safer, more pedestrian friendly, more attractive. Going back to the computer and using the maps to transform the city into a better place to live is really interesting.

"Our classes are quite tight-knit. We work in a studio environment, so we can easily work together and share ideas. The staff are really invested in your study; they know you by name and their doors are always open.

"I am involved with the University Christian Club, Student Life, which has been a great way of meeting students in other faculties, and they also connected me with another Urban Planning student, which has led to a lot of handy advice and insight!

"The University of Auckland is the only place in New Zealand to offer an Urban Planning degree and it's so relevant in Auckland at the moment. If you're interested in design and geography, I'd definitely recommend Urban Planning. You can find an aspect you will love and start to specialise in it."

Kirsten Binnie is in her final year of the Bachelor of Urban Planning (Honours) degree.

Hana Greer in the architecture and planning studios.

Hana Greer

“I decided to study architecture because it combines my interest in art and design, along with the practicality of mathematics and physics. Also it is the first step to reaching my dream of becoming an architect. Choosing to study at the University of Auckland came as a natural selection process, due to its international reputation and the outstanding quality of student work from the past.

“We are currently working on a large-scale project out in New Lynn, which gives you a taste of what it’s like to be in the real world. The satisfaction of seeing something you design actually being fabricated is definitely a highlight.

“Architecture school has definitely taught me the importance of persistence, determination and teamwork skills, along with how important it is to be passionate and to enjoy what you do.

“I plan to complete a masters degree in architecture, either at the University of Auckland or overseas.”

Hana is currently studying for a Bachelor of Architectural Studies (BAS).

Liam Winter in the NICAI student centre.

Liam Winter

“My interest in urban planning stems from a long-held fascination with cities: why they form, how they work, and how they can be made better. Urban planning was a perfect fit for my interests given its involvement in both enabling the economic opportunities that drive urbanisation; and in the regulation that aims to protect the interests of people and the environment. The University of Auckland offers an NZPI-accredited urban planning programme which prepares students for the real world, with its emphasis on hands-on collaborative problem solving and real-life case studies. The programme has been both challenging and enjoyable, with small class sizes equating to a large number of enduring friendships! Numerous classmates have also taken advantage of opportunities for overseas study in the United Kingdom, Germany and China.

"Moving forward, my immediate plans upon graduation are to pursue a public sector role with a view to ultimately becoming involved in formulating high-level growth management or transport policy.”

Liam is currently studying for a Bachelor of Planning (BPlan).


Architecture, Urban Planning and Urban Design postgraduate students and graduates


Steph Lam

“I chose to pursue urban planning in Auckland because the entire region is on a journey of huge change, and I want to be directly involved in how that change will affect our communities.  My university career started in architecture because I wanted to better understand – and help others better understand – the impact of their decisions on the places they live in.  As I became more interested in global issues and the collective responsibilities to community, environment and future generations, expanding into urban planning was the next logical step. 


“The School of Architecture’s focus on urban issues is a strong point of difference in New Zealand. The School is well-connected to the world of practice, and the level of academic and industry experience I have been able to access via the School has been incredibly valuable for building professional networks.  In two short years I have worked with iwi, charitable organisations, local government, and in academic research. The quality and diversity of my peers and the studio environment at the School have been key to stimulating discussion, generating ideas and seeding the innovation we want to see in practice.  The biggest learnings for me have involved pushing my boundaries: learning to set my sights high but also broadly; that boundless curiosity can cause paralysis or be honed into a valuable professional skill set, depending on how you approach it; and that amazing things happen when you are around people with the same level of enthusiasm. 

“After graduating I plan to grow the networks seeded while at University, working across a number of platforms at a range of scales, toward a healthy, interesting, equitable and beautiful Auckland.”


Steph Lam is currently studying for a Master of Urban Planning (MUrbPlan).


Steven Lin

"I was introduced to architecture by a friend who was studying it, and it has interested me ever since. Architecture allows you to deconstruct things, analyse how systems function at different scales and add your perspective to the situation. This results in a remarkable synthesis of creativity and practicality. The University of Auckland provides a great research environment to study the diverse and interesting complexities of Auckland city. The postgraduate programme invites students to question, theorise and provoke conversations about our built environment.

“What I have enjoyed most about the programme is its fluid nature of research. Often, multiple aspects of life are investigated and integrated to further the development of knowledge and application in architecture. As a result, the programme prepares you not just to be an architect, but also to pursue various other career opportunities. Upon graduation, I hope to travel and gain experience pursuing my interests in architecture."

Steven Lin is currently studying for a Master of Architecture (Professional) (MArch(Prof)).


Angela Yoo

“Creative design had always been something I could get obsessed about; I enjoyed it so much that I chose to study architecture. It’s only at an institution like the University of Auckland that you’re exposed to such diverse interests, passions, and people who are really interested in what unique view you have of the world. Being immersed in this environment really pushes you to think about how architecture resonates with you and after every year of the programme, I feel myself grow immensely as a designer and a person. At the University I enjoy that there are no creative limits to whatever you push for and that the support for your work helps extend what you thought was possible. The greatest thing I’ve come to value from my degree is the joy of learning and how every subject matter has the potential to contribute to architecture and society.

“After I graduate I plan to continue pursuing research interests at the University and develop a practice that encourages curiosity and imagination.”

Angela is currently studying for a Master of Architecture (Professional) (MArch(Prof)).

Julie Anne Genter

Julie Anne Genter completed her undergraduate study at the University of California (Berkeley), then spent several years in France before moving to New Zealand. She gained a Master of Planning Practice with first class honours from the University of Auckland in 2008, and has focussed on research and solutions in transport economics and urban design throughout her career. She is passionate about sustainable transport, and at the time of filming, was standing for Parliament as a member of the Green Party. She is now one of the 14 Greens in Parliament, who were all elected from the party list.

Nat Cheshire

Nat Cheshire calls himself a "delineator", but this title does no justice to his varied and extensive practice in his architectural firm. Awarded "best building guy" by Metro in their Best of Auckland issue (December 2010) for his "very beautiful interior fitouts" in two Britomart buildings, Nat has gone a long way past his original ambition to be a fine artist with plenty of time to surf.

"My architectural ambitions are global, but I chose to study and work in Auckland because of the openness to new ideas and freedom of architectural expression we have in New Zealand."

Namita Kambli

“After completing my undergraduate education in India I decided that I wanted to study abroad to see a different part of the world. I opted for the University of Auckland not only because it is New Zealand’s top university but also because Auckland is internationally renowned as one of the world’s most liveable cities!

A PhD is both challenging and stimulating but the support from my supervisors, colleagues and the Student Learning Centre has been remarkable. The past two and a half years have taught me perseverance, discipline and time management while sharpening my research skills.”

Namita Kambli is currently studying for a PhD in Urban Design and was the recipient of a University of Auckland International Doctoral Scholarship.


Manini Hallikeri

"I have always been interested in geography, but as an undergraduate student I studied tourism. After working and travelling in New Zealand and overseas, I became more interested in pursuing a career path that enabled me to incorporate my interest in geography with my new found interests in law, politics and how people shape and are shaped by their surrounding environment.

"I was awarded a Summer Scholarship in 2010/2011 to work on a research project that followed on from an assignment I completed in one of the studio papers. The skills I have learned during this programme include learning how to undertake independent research, communicating ideas effectively through sound reasoning, learning how to use Photoshop, learning how to problem-solve in groups and many more!"

Manini Hallikeri has recently completed a Master of Planning Practice (MPlanPrac).


Emma Fergusson

"When I started my Master of Planning Practice in 2008 I was hoping to work in the area of environmental policy in local or central government. The degree appealed to me because it gave me a professionally recognised qualification in just two years, and had a combination of taught courses, studio work and research.

I finished my MPlanPrac. at the end of last year, and, having discovered that my first love is really research, I’ve come back to start my PhD in Planning.  I wouldn’t have committed to another three years here if I didn’t think it was a great place to be.  The staff are passionate about their teaching and research, and they make research students feel like part of the community.  There’s a lovely camaraderie among the PhD. students, too; I don’t feel isolated, which is a common experience for those writing theses.  All going according to plan, I’ll graduate in 2013.  I’m not sure where I’ll end up yet – teaching, research, or local government – but I’m going to have some pretty cool options."

Emma Fergusson is currently studying for a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Planning.


Kelly Slater 

“I have always been interested in the environment and how the world is shaped around us. Studying a Master of Urban Planning is a ticket to enhance my knowledge and skills for my new career in urban planning and ultimately give something back to the New Zealand urban environment that I live in.

“I have just completed a study tour to Portland and Vancouver and have enjoyed the balance between field work and lectures. Studying within a supportive close-knit group has enabled me to grasp concepts quickly and with ease. I’d like to work in coastal or transportation planning when I graduate.”

Kelly Slater is currently studying for a Master of Urban Planning (MUrbPlan).