Council & City

Michael Duindam: Policy Planner

My job is to write the rulebook for development in Palmerston North. I get to work with developers, iwi, urban designers, landscape architects, engineers, academics, business owners, citizens and many others to create a vibrant city for people to live, work and play in.

Photo shows Mike wearing pounamu and shirt with rolled up sleeves.

Policy Planner Michael Duindam.

Tell us a bit about yourself

I’m a local lad, of sorts. I wasn’t born here, but I did a lot of my growing up in Palmy. I went to Awapuni School, Intermediate Normal, Awatapu College, and then made my way across the Manawatū River to Massey University to study my degree in Resource and Environmental Planning.

After graduating I moved to Gisborne to begin my planning career. The beautiful beaches and fishing weren’t enough to keep me there though! After two years I found my way back home to Palmy and I’ve never looked back.

What does your typical day consist of?

My job involves a lot of critical thinking and problem solving. That means a lot of research, writing, consulting and engaging with technical experts, iwi and the general public. I really enjoying coming up with creative ways to improve our city.

How does your role as a Policy Planner impact on the community?

Although most people don’t realise this, planners have a huge influence on the everyday lives of the community. We help shape the places people live, work and play. We coordinate the city’s development with a range of other disciplines so that we have well serviced neighbourhoods, access to public space, places to work and a range of other things that create a vibrant, caring, innovative, sustainable and prosperous city.

What has been the most rewarding part of your job at the Council?

I really enjoy working with residents and understanding what their aspirations are and how the Council can help bring these to life. I work in local government because I care about working for my community.

One of the really rewarding parts of my job is managing Green Corridors. Green Corridors is an ecological restoration project where native trees are planted along waterways. The idea is to create green passages from the Tararua Ranges down to the Manawatū River. It’s been a really successful project over the last 15 years. Over 150,000 trees have been planted and there’s been a huge influx of native birds coming into the city since it was started.