Awards and Recognition

CRE Executive of the Year Award 2016

John Dalzell
Chief Executive
Panuku Development Auckland

June 2016


The opportunity to open Auckland’s central city foreshore to the public was the most significant urban regeneration opportunity afforded New Zealand’s largest city in the last 50 years.

As the local port company consolidated operations and freed up some of its waterfront land, the Auckland City and Regional Councils bought it up and deployed Sea+City, soon to become Waterfront Auckland, led by John Dalzell, to design a master plan that would enable Aucklanders to reconnect and touch the harbour that had been closed to public access for nearly 100 years.

Since then, over the past decade, John has led the Waterfront Auckland team implementing New Zealand’s largest urban regeneration project. With a philosophy of human-centred design, employing the best of international experience and bringing together a project team of momentum-focus experts, John Dalzell has raised and realised implementation of over $1.5 billion worth of both private and public investment to transform the city’s harbour-front.

As a registered valuer, John takes a pragmatic commercial approach to property redevelopment, but layers this with a belief that for true regeneration, the outcomes must be authentic and firmly rooted in the history and values of their place. 

Delivering for key community stakeholders and Waterfront Auckland’s shareholder, the Auckland Council, John and his team have transformed Auckland’s central city waterfront. His success is proven by the hundreds of people who flock to the new parks, boulevards, offices, café and bars of the waterfront each day to work, play - and soon to live - in a part of the city formerly reserved for cargo.

In 2015, he accepted a new challenge from Auckland’s Deputy Mayor to: “bring the mojo of Waterfront Auckland to the rest of the region”, John now leads a leads a merged team from Waterfront Auckland and the Council’s property company to regenerate a number of brown-fields urban town centres across Auckland.


Notable achievements in the last seven years have included:




  • Wynyard Quarter – November 2015
    Winner - Comprehensive Plans
    Excellence on the Waterfront, Washington D.C.
  • Auckland Waterfront – September 2014
    Winner – Best Waterfront Project Award

    International Society of City and Regional Planning (ISOCARP), Poland

  •  Jellicoe Street, North Wharf and Silo Park – September 2014
    Winner – The Rosa Barba International Landscape Prize

    8th International Biennial of Landscape Architecture, Barcelona

  • Wynyard Quarter – September 2012
    Excellence on the Waterfront

    The Waterfront Center (USA)

  • Wynyard Quarter – October 2012

    World Architecture Festival

  • Wynyard Quarter – August 2012
    Winner – Steel New Zealand

    Sustainability Award
    New Zealand Institute of Builders

  • Te Wero Island and Eastern Viaduct – October 2012
    NZ Best Spatial Design – Exhibition and Temporary

    Best Awards – DINZ, Si8lver Award

  • Wynyard Quarter Playspace – October 2012
    NZ Best Spatial Design – Exhibition and Temporary

    Best Awards – DINZ, Silver Award

  • Silo Park Market Structures – October 2012
    NZ Best Spatial Design – Exhibition and Temporary

    Best Awards – DINZ, Gold Award

  • Jellicoe Street, North Wharf and Silo Park – August 2012
    Winner – Landscape

    Resene Total Colours Award 2012

  • Wynyard Quarter Stage One – June 2012
    Excellent Best in Category – Natural Habitat

    Landscapes Urban Land Developments Property Award
    Property Council New Zealand Rider Levett

    Bucknall Property Industry Awards 2012

  • North Wharf Buildings – June 2012
    Finalist – RCG, Reail Property Award

    Property Council New Zealand Rider Levett

    Bucknall Property Industry Awards 2012

  • Wynyard Quarter Urban Design Framework – May 2012
    Planning and urban Design Award

    New Zealand Institute of Architecture Awards

  • Wynyard Quarter Urban Design Framework – October 2011
    Planning and Urban Design Award

    Auckland Institute of Architecture Awards –

    Local Architecture Awards

  • Westhaven Z Pier WC Block – October 2011
    Small Project Architecture

    New Zealand Institute of Architecture Awards –
    Local Architecture Awards

  • Hyatt Residences – November 2004
    Resene Local Award for Architecture

    New Zealand Institute of Architects


Strategy and Direction

  • Waterfront Plan comprising an integrated urban strategy for the regeneration of Auckland’s waterfront completed in the first 18 months of the new, merged regional Auckland Council operating environment and launched on 10 August 2012.
  • Westhaven Marina Long Term Development Plan completed 30 August 2012 (an input to the Waterfront Plan).
  • The Long Term Plan (LTP) for Auckland’s waterfront, part of the Auckland Council 10 year financial plan informed by the Auckland Plan, City Centre Master Plan and Waterfront Plan.The LTP for the waterfront provides, subject to a further Business Case, $253 million of funding for public infrastructure and seed funding for developing Waterfront Auckland’s ownership portfolio.
  • Urban Design Framework (UDF) and Sustainable Development Framework (SDF) for Wynyard Quarter completed June 2007 and April 2009 respectively.These guiding documents set up the framework for a design-led approach in Wynyard Quarter, a mixed-use precinct including a 4.5 hectare Headland Park.
  • Integrated Development Plan (IDP), formerly known as Comprehensive Area Structure Plan (CASP) completed for Jellicoe Street Precinct (July 2009).The IDP is the first co-ordinating plan at a statutory level that is informed by the UDF and Sustainable Development Framework.
  • A leading approach to urban regeneration in New Zealand, the Sustainable Development Framework (SDF) outlines the philosophy, approach and measures for creating a resilient sustainable community. The SDF forms the basis for a number of requirements in the commercial Development Agreements with the private sector.


Public and Stakeholder

  • Early on in the project, the Marine and Fishing industries in particular, were vehemently opposed to the Plan Change.Through an ability to listen, consider alternative views, build a bridge-head of support through like-minded people in the Marine and Fishing industries, it has been possible to substantially turn around these key relationships with industry and landholders.This has taken time, to build trust and together previously entrenched positions and parties from both sides have reached a workable and sustainable consensus.Today, Waterfront Auckland is a member of New Zealand Marine, the body representing the majority of the industry.
  • Mana whenua of Aotearoa have been a core stakeholder to the waterfront regeneration plans and have contributed to the success to date. Over recent times, as mana whenua have begun to realise settlements from the Treaty of Waitangi process, mana whenua are now commercial partners in redevelopment.
  • UMR Research completed an annual survey of local residents and visitors to the waterfront and Wynyard Quarter.The most recent survey in June 2012 showed that:
    • 91% of all Aucklanders support the principle of revitalising the waterfront
    • 96% of local residents along the waterfront and 77% of all of Auckland residents have visited Wynyard Quarter in the last year
    • -of the 250 people surveyed, 38% visit Wynyard Quarter monthly or more frequently than this
    • -of all the visitors, 81% say they are satisfied with the public spaces.
  • The research confirms a dramatic improvement in public perception of Wynyard Quarter and Auckland’s waterfront.In particular, people have embraced the new open public spaces, access to the water’s edge, the high quality urban design, the mix of activities and attractions that establish the area as a real destination.


  • Over 2013/14, we successfully attracted private investors to develop Wynyard Central.Many said that our development plans, sustainability goals and design standards were too demanding to attract interest from investors.However, after an extensive marketing campaign and Requests for Proposal, we have successfully negotiated development agreements with two local and one international investor / developers.These parties share our enthusiasm and vision to create Wynyard Central as one of the best urban mixed use waterfront communities in the world.
  • One of the more difficult propositions was the marketing of the hotel site.A bold and innovative approach was taken, marketing this off the back of a Mayoral delegation to China in 2012.The core proposition to the international market was endeavouring to appeal to an investor / developer who not only had a long-term view in terms of investment and recapture of capital outlay, but also an entity that would partner with Waterfront Auckland buying into the core philosophy and values of the agency.The Fu Wah group of companies, based in Beijing demonstrated all of these attributes along with a strategic imperative in their business plan to grow their network of hotels within the region and thereby providing outward bound Chinese travellers greater choice of experience and accommodation in the Australia / New Zealand sector.
  • Wynyard Central demonstrates how, with clever partnering and clearly describing the outcomes we seek, we can encourage private investors to take responsibility for developing our city in a socially and environmentally responsive way.
    • Fu Wah International will build a 200 room, international standard 5-star hotel, which they will support through strong promotion of New Zealand as a tourism destination in China.The detailed designs for the hotel have been developed, and construction began in 2016.
    • Willis Bond will develop over 90,000m2 of residential apartments (over 600 apartments).Detailed designs are currently being developed for approximately 28,350m2 of apartments which will be built in the first phase of development. Over the next 10 years we will see the number of people living in the Wynyard Quarter lift from the 280 or so residents who are here already, to well over 1,500 residents.
    • Precinct Properties will develop approximately 48,000m2 of commercial space.Currently Precinct is working on detailed designs for approximately 14,300m2 of commercial space as the first phase of development and are promoting the development to the market.ATEED has committed to leasing 25,000m2 of commercial space from Precinct for the innovation precinct which they will in turn lease to innovative and entrepreneurial businesses with an ICT focus.
    • Completion, in February 2013, of the Waterfront Plan Implementation Strategy (WPIS).This is a 3 to 5 year strategy and Implementation Plan to deliver the vision and goal of the Waterfront Plan.While encompassing all of Waterfront Auckland’s business activities, it outlines the approach Waterfront Auckland will take in developing the commercial and public initiatives in the next phase of development.Waterfront Auckland is seeking to leverage off this amenity and the assets it owns on behalf of the public to attract private investment to the waterfront in order to create a waterfront that contributes significantly to achieving the vision of the world’s most liveable city.
    • Rugby World Cup Legacy Projects completed on time and within budget.These projects comprised $145 million of works completed for the September 2011 Rugby World Cup hosted in New Zealand.Projects include:
      • Jellicoe Street, first stage ($78.4 million) of a $211 million redevelopment of the public infrastructure works to leverage $1.7 billion of private sector investment in this mixed-use regeneration project.
      • Oversight of the construction of the Viaduct Events Centre in Wynyard Quarter.This is a $36 million multi-purpose event centre with particular focus on showcasing the marine cluster and industry based in Wynyard Quarter and Auckland.
      • Construction of the Cloud on Queens Wharf and refurbishment of Shed 10, located adjacent to the new Cloud structure on Queens Wharf.The Cloud and Queens Wharf were projects completed in joint venture with the New Zealand Government.The total project cost $21 million.
      • North Wharf Development located in Wynyard Quarter.A $9.98 million exemplar food and beverage development located in the heart of the Jellicoe Street area.
      • Secured the first major private sector investment in Wynyard Quarter comprising the new $160 million ASB Bank Headquarters.Owned by Kiwi Income Property Trust (Commonwealth Bank subsidiary), this new innovative design from both a sustainability and workforce planning perspective is located on a prominent corner site opposite North Wharf and the Viaduct Event Centre.This development is scheduled for completion in June 2013.
      • Successful processing of the Plan Change for Wynyard Quarter, including an innovative deal with the Bulk Liquid industry to facilitate an orderly exit of the industry from Wynyard Quarter while at the same time allowing establishment of the first phases of the mixed-use development.

      Organisation and Best Industry Practice

      • Separately with Sea+City Projects Limited and Waterfront Auckland has been in key roles through the approval, set-up and induction of new Board members, employees and consultants for both organisations.
      • Major restructure of the Waterfront Auckland business from February to September 2012.The restructure ensures that the organisation has the right capability and resources to deliver on the Waterfront Plan.Overall, staff FTE numbers were reduced slightly (80 down to 77) with the restructure delivering a net saving of $600,000 to achieve a reduced payroll of $7.7 million per annum.
      • Establishment and leadership of Sea Edge 2012 and Water Edge 2016 in partnership with The Waterfront Center, Washington. Water Edge 2016 is an invitation only symposium for waterfront leaders from around the globe to share their experience and vision, and work together to create enduring waterfronts the world over.
      • Continued performance improvements in respect of business policy, protocols, process and business systems.
      • Re-examination of organisation structures in the context of ensuring optimal engagement with private sector investment. This international research has been documented in a paper to the Board and shareholder “Liveable and Sustainable Cities – Integrated Urban Solutions”.
      • Established a Public Charter for Waterfront Auckland that clearly sets out the organisation’s pledge to the public and stakeholders, including its Vision, Mission, Philosophies & Principles and Objectives.
      • Established various initiatives to ensure design excellence including the bringing together of a pre-eminent Technical Advisory Group and instigating a Design Talent Pool for designers working within the Waterfront Auckland ownership portfolio.
      • Member of the Rugby World Cup Auckland Management Committee convened in-tournament to ensure from a risk management perspective key outcomes were delivered.This intervention recognised that the previous oversight committee did not create the right collaborative platform across all Council organisations.A number of Council organisations, not previously involved, were pulled in to the Rugby World Cup Auckland Management Committee, including Waterfront Auckland.