Brigid (Biddy) Livesey

Msc Urban Management and Development; BSc Ecology and Biodiversity; BA Māori Language

PhD candidate

Massey University

Associate member NZPI / Pākehā


I have a long-standing interest in Te Ao Māori and indigenous issues, especially in connection with the management and planning of urban areas.

My current research, scheduled for completion in 2016, looks at the development of land acquired as commercial redress through settlements under the Treaty of Waitangi. The research focuses on land in New Zealand cities. My PhD supervisors are Professor Karen Witten and Associate Professor Helen Moewaka-Barnes from SHORE/Whariki, based at Massey University (Auckland). This research is part of the Resilient Urban Futures programme.

Research for my Masters thesis - entitled ‘He Kainga Hou ki te Hau Kainga - Housing development on multiply-owned ancestral land in a high-growth area of New Zealand’ – compared housing development on peri-urban Maori land to housing development on general land. This research concluded that targeted and well-designed local and central government policies are critical to increasing the viability of housing development on Maori land. In particular, the research emphasised the importance of planning for housing development on Maori land through the tools provided by the Resource Management and Local Government Acts.

Current research interests:

  • Development and use of land acquired through Treaty settlement
  • Legal status, regulation and use of collectively-owned land
  • Relationships between tangata whenua and local government
  • My previous position was as a policy analyst at Auckland Council in the team developing the first Auckland Unitary Plan. My role at Auckland Council focussed on providing for Māori land and land acquired through Treaty settlement, in a resource management plan. This role included extensive engagement with iwi/hapū and mataawaka organisations.

Prior to Auckland Council, I was employed by the Institute for Housing and Urban Development (Erasmus University Rotterdam) to assist with coordinating and teaching courses on ‘Land Reform in West Africa – Access to Land for the Poor’ (Ghana, 2010) and ‘Innovations in Financing Cities’ (e-course, 2010). In 2010 I received a Master of Science in Urban Management and Development (with distinction) from the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam. I have also worked as an policy analyst at the New Zealand Ministry for the Environment. This position included secondments to the Urban Development Authorities Team (based at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet), to assess the need for new institutions to support urban development in New Zealand, and to the Sustainable Urban Development Unit (hosted by the Department of Internal Affairs), which produced the discussion document Building Sustainable Urban Communities in 2008.


“Ensuring the container is strong”: Exploring urban mauri in Aotearoa New Zealand through the wananga processLandscape Journal, (in press)
Housing development on Māori land - two case studies in developing and retaining Māori landMāori Law Review, Wellington (2012)
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Do urban growth strategies support the development of Māori land for residential use?In Stuart, K. and Thompson-Fawcett, M. (eds) Tāone Tupu Ora – Indigenous knowledge and sustainable urban design. New Zealand Centre for Sustainable Cities, Wellington (2010)
He Kāinga Hou ki te Hau Kāinga Housing development on multiply-owned ancestral land in a high-growth area of New ZealandMasters thesis submitted as partial fulfilment of requirements for the degree of MSc in Urban Management and Development, Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (2010)
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