Future Thinker of the Year

We are thrilled to announce Meredith Dale as the Future Thinker of the Year for 2021

A huge thank you to everyone who got involved and put forward their entries for Future Thinker of the Year 2021. We were stoked to receive lots of brilliant applications which showcased some great work going on around Aotearoa and an incredible amount of passion, leadership and initiative by our Future Thinkers.

Congratulations to our four finalists for the Future Thinker of the Year 2021 Sophia Olo-Whaanga, Negin Imani, Meredith Dale and Madison Fleming! All successfully presented their visions and ideas at this year's awards evening held at Auckland University of Technology's School of Future Environments. 

At the end of the evening our judges, Jade Kake, Warner Brunton, Fiona Short, Michael Gillon, and Tessa Meyer had the challenge of choosing this year's winner. 

We are delighted to announce this year's Future Thinker of the Year is Meredith Dale

A kowhai tree was presented to Future Thinker of the Year Meredith Dale

Thank you to our brilliant finalists. The future of green building in Aotearoa is bright, thank you for sharing your visions, ideas and knowledge. 


Finalists Negin Imani, Madison Fleming, Meredith Dale and Sophia Olo-Whaanga


For those new to the award, Future Thinker of the Year is awarded to a student or recent graduate passionate about green building who demonstrates leadership and knowledge about driving change in Aotearoa. Whether they're an researcher, activist, student, or work in the sustainable building space, it's a chance for us to help amplify their voice and provide a platform to make a real difference across our built environment.

As well as gaining profile among our building and construction sector and opening up opportunities to speak and educate others at industry events and discussions, the winner will receive:

  • Entry to the Green Property Summit in Auckland on 6 May
  • Free entry to all NZGBC networking events in 2021
  • Two NZGBC training courses of their choice
  • An invitation to stand on the selection panel for Future Thinker of the Year 2022
  • Involvement in numerous events and speaking engagements

Read more about our brilliant candidates and watch their video submissions 

 Meet our shortlist 

See more of the FTOTY 2021 Awards Evening 

Judge Warner Brunton presents a certificate to 2020 FTOTY Tessa Meyer

Meet 2020 Future Thinker of the Year Tessa Meyer


Tessa has a Bachelors 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 Development Auckland’s Corporate Responsibility team.

Tessa worked successfully with NZGBC 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.

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