Context news

Congratulations to new NZIA Auckland Councillor

22 May 2019

Rachel Venables joins the NZIA Council this month as the new Auckland Councillor.

Context Associate Rachel Venables’ term as Auckland Councillor begins this month, prior to the New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA) Annual General Meeting on 21 May 2019. The NZIA is New Zealand’s leading industry organisation dedicated to promoting excellence in the practice of architecture and supporting the interests of the profession.

Rachel joins seven other elected representatives from the regions which form the NZIA Council, which determines policy around membership services, practice support and professional development.

“We’re very proud of Rachel’s appointment as Auckland Councillor. She’s forward-thinking and a talented leader who will help the NZIA Council shape its future direction,” says Context’s Managing Principal and NZIA Fellow Stephen Voyle.

Rachel joined Context in 2015 after running her own practice for several years. In 2010, she became one of the youngest architects ever to become a Fellow of the NZIA. Rachel is an experienced advocate of high-quality urban design in medium-density developments. At Context, she leads the teams that design many of our most significant residential projects, including our work in creating a new social housing framework for Housing New Zealand.

The NZIA’s network of eight branches provides a local community for activities and services – and a means for members to stay connected and involved. Context is well represented in Auckland, with four team members on the local branch committee.

In April, Context Graduate Ysabelle Empiso was elected secretary of Architecture + Women NZ (A+W NZ) and made the group’s representative on the NZIA Auckland Branch Committee. Ysabelle has been very involved in A +W NZ since 2018, acting as Events Leader and organising the group’s contribution to the Festival of Architecture last year.

“The core aim of A+W NZ is to encourage diversity and inclusion within the architectural profession. The diversity is usually there already, but we don’t always see it represented. We want to amplify the visibility of a broader range of practitioners, whether they’re architects, academics or graduates,” explains Ysabelle.

As A+W NZ representative on the Auckland Branch Committee, Ysabelle will help to shine a spotlight on women working in the field, and ensure they’re well-represented among the most highly regarded professional institution in the country.

Also on the Auckland Branch Committee, Stephen Voyle represents the Practice Forum and Graduate Patrick Walmsley is the Unitec Student Rep.