Future Thinker of the Year 2020

Future Thinker of the Year is awarded each year to a student or recent graduate who has demonstrated environmental knowledge and leadership. This could be through activism, research, or achievements in and out of work. It recognises success and passion for green buildings, and offers an opportunity to make a real difference across Aotearoa’s built environment.

After moving this year's Future Thinker of the Year award online, we werethrilled to announce Tessa Meyer as this year's FTOTY. 

We were beyond impressed by the quality of applications this year. There’s some awesome mahi going on to transform our industry and narrowing down a shortlist was tough. We asked seven to tell us more about themselves and their ideas in a video - view them here

Future Thinker of the Year 2020 Shortlist. 

  • Alec Arnold  
  • Gerard Finch  
  • Hannah Wu  
  • Jarred Butler  
  • Rochelle Kirby 
  • Sameh Shamout 
  • Tessa Meyer 

Four finalists; Tessa Meyer, Gerard Finch, Rochelle Kirby, and Hannah Wu, were picked by our expert judging panel: Lloyd Budd, Warner Brunton, Te Ari Prendergast, Andrea Davidson, and Kate Boylan.

Check out the final discussion and the announcement

Tessa Meyer, Future Thinker of the Year 2020

Tessa has a Bachelor’s in Science with a Masters in Urban Resilience and Renewal, and currently works as Programme Sustainability Lead at KiwiRail in Wellington. Previous, she was part of Panuku’s Corporate Responsibility team

Tessa worked successfully with NZGBC last year to achieve Green Star – Communities ratings for two of Panuku’s key priority neighbourhoods in Takapuna and Henderson, a first of their kind in Aotearoa. Tessa has also worked to complete Panuku’s Toitū Envirocare Carbon Reduce certification with an emissions inventory and management plan, which includes championing internal sustainable travel.

Tessa’s submission and interview focused on the need to address decarbonisation through community-wide planning and infrastructure, and to establish ways to communicate the long term economic benefits of this. 






Sustainability Engineer Kate Boylan became NZGBC's first Future Thinker of the Year in 2019. Other 2019 finalists include Priscila Besen, PhD Architecture, Delight M Sedzro, PhD Engineering, AUT University, and Alice Couchman, Assistant Development Manager, Willis Bond & Co

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