Experts at Getting You the Resource Consents You Need

vivian+espie provide upfront expert advice on resource consents, urban design and landscape architecture to ensure your development project is successful. Based in Queenstown since 2004, we have worked across New Zealand’s Southern Lakes area. Our combination of disciplines allows us to offer a comprehensive and integrated approach to environmental planning and resource consenting for your project.

Over the years we have built up experience in all facets of resource management and landscape planning, with a particular emphasis on resource consent applications, plan change applications, assessments of effects on the environment, district plan reviews and presentation of expert evidence before Hearings Panels, Commissioners and Courts. In 2015 we added urban design to our company disciplines. We pride ourselves on our integrity and honest upfront advice. We have the solutions to navigate the planning process.

We have become known for giving frank, upfront advice from the first meeting. In relation to your project, you will get an honest appraisal or what sort of process and expense you can expect from day one.

What We Do

We help you achieve your project objectives. We provide resource management planning, landscape planning and urban design advice and services to development companies, landowners, local authorities and groups throughout the lower South Island. This includes:

Planning / Resource Management

Landscape Architecture & Assessment

Urban design

Reserves & Open Space

  • Subdivision & land use consents
  • Assessment of effects of the environment
  • Spatial planning, Plan change applications & processing
  • Designations & Notices of Requirement
  • Certificates of Compliance
  • Objections & Environment Court appeals
  • Expert evidence
  • View projects

  • Landscape & Visual Amenity Assessments
  • Peer Reviews
  • Expert evidence
  • Development Design Advice
  • View projects

  • Urban design input into & reporting on projects & consent applications
  • Urban design assessments & peer reviews
  • Preparation of design guidelines
  • View projects

  • Reserve licences
  • Leases of Council reserve land
  • Concessions
  • Recreation permits
  • Reserve Management Plans
  • View projects

Our capability and competence stems from our extensive experience in working with both local authorities and private clients. We get it right first time. Our experience means that our advice and professional opinions are held in high regard by consent authorities and by the Environment Court. The key services that we provide are:

  • Development Advice – Initial planning and design advice regarding development and subdivision proposals in order to maximise the ultimate success of the project as it proceeds through the resource management process.
  • Preparing applications and assessments – Devising and preparing resource consent and plan change applications including preparing the required assessments of effects on the environment and landscape and visual effects assessment reports. We can also brief and manage the work of other experts (engineers, surveyors, ecologists, etc) in order to provide a complete application preparation service to the client.
  • Expert Evidence – Expert resource management and landscape evidence for Council and Environment Court hearings.
  • Project Management – Managing a resource consent or plan change application through the process from start to finish, including design and application preparation, lodgement with the consent authority, public notification, liaison with local authority staff or other parties, management of a hearing and receiving a decision.

We work to fit your requirements

The services that we provide are adaptable and are tailored to your needs. In some instances we manage an entire project from conceptual level, through design and resource consenting up to the point of the client being able to start their new activity. In these situations we can engage and manage a multi-disciplinary team of experts to cover all project requirements. In other instances we slot into a project that is already in progress in order to provide an individual input, such as a landscape effects assessment report or a brief of Environment Court evidence. In all cases we will configure our services to suit your individual needs.

Queenstown Resource Management Planners, Landscape Architects and Urban Designers

Carey Vivian

BRP(Hons), MNZPI RMLA Resource Management Planner / Director

Carey Vivian : BRP(Hons), MNZPI RMLA Resource Management Planner / Director

Carey has more than 25 years planning experience in both private practice and local government. Carey has had extensive experience in policy development (district plan review and plan changes), resource consent preparation and assessment, and project managing the planning process. Carey’s breadth of experience includes management of residential, commercial, urban, tourism, forestry and rural development, plus subdivision resource consent processes. Carey specialises in presenting expert evidence before hearing panels and the Environment Court on behalf of applicants, councils and submitters. Carey is a Full member of the New Zealand Planning Institute since April 2000 and a member of the Resource Management Law Association.

Contact Carey

Ben Espie

BA BLA(Hons) NZILA RMLA Landscape Planner / Director

Ben Espie : BA BLA(Hons) NZILA RMLA Landscape Planner / Director

Ben has more than 19 years landscape planning experience, including five years with Queenstown-based regulatory contractor Civic Corporation Limited as the principal of the Landscape Architecture Department. Ben has broad-ranging skills and experience in assessing landscape values and the effects of development on such values. His approach to landscape assessment is considered balanced by his peers, an important quality in a subjective and often controversial discipline. Ben has extensive experience as an expert before the Environment Court in advising on the landscape and amenity effects of a wide range of activities, ranging from large infrastructural projects to recreational activities and individual dwellings. Ben is a member, and past chairman, of the Southern Branch of the New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects and also a member of the Resource Management Law Association.

Contact Ben

Blair Devlin

BA, MRRP (Dist), MNZPI Resource Management Planner / Director

Blair Devlin : BA, MRRP (Dist), MNZPI Resource Management Planner / Director

Blair has over 20 years’ experience as a resource management planner, working across private practice, local government and central government, in New Zealand and the United Kingdom. As a former Resource Consents Manager, Blair is well acquainted with the planning framework in the Queenstown Lakes District. He has a breadth of experience gained from managing a consent processing team dealing with over 1000 subdivision and land use consents a year, across all topic areas. Blair is also very familiar with Environment Court processes, having been responsible for looking after Resource Management Act appeals for Queenstown Lakes District Council, and was involved in resolving over 40 different appeals, as well as providing expert evidence to the Environment Court. His recent role as Planning Practice Manager at the Queenstown Lakes District Council has given him extensive experience in Special Housing Areas within the Queenstown Lakes district, utilising the Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Act.

Contact Blair

Jessica McKenzie

BLA(Hons), MLA, NZILA Landscape Planner

Jessica McKenzie : BLA(Hons), MLA, NZILA Landscape Planner

Jess has over five years’ experience in landscape architecture and planning with broad-ranging skills and experience having worked in both local government and private practice throughout New Zealand. Jess is the president of the Southern Branch of the New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architecture.

Contact Jessica

Tom McIntyre

Assoc. NZPI Planner

Tom McIntyre : Assoc. NZPI Planner

Tom has over three years’ experience working as a planner for local government, in both the Queenstown Lakes and, more recently, the United Kingdom (London Borough of Lewisham).
Tom became an Associate member of the New Zealand Planning Institution in 2018.
Tom now enjoys working with clients on their development projects and has successfully obtained consent for several visitor accommodation activities.
He has a particular interest in subdivision applications.
His local knowledge and experience with the Queenstown Lakes district plan means he can provide efficient and timely advice on the relevant rules and regulations.
Tom can also officially call himself a long time local having grown up in the Wakatipu.

Gabi Glory

BUrbPlan (Hons), Planner

Gabi Glory : BUrbPlan (Hons), Planner

Gabi is the newest addition to the vivian+espie team having previously worked for the Queenstown Lakes District Council for 3 years in both the Policy team and Resource Consents team.
Gabi has recently been involved in a wide range of resource consent projects, including multi-unit developments, rural subdivision, regional earthworks and discharge consents and outline plan of works.
Gabi is also pursuing a Post Graduate Diploma in Designed Environments to broaden her knowledge in the landscape field.

Carrie Whyte

BA Env.Geo & Archaeology, Assoc MNZPI Resource Management Planner

Carrie Whyte : BA Env.Geo & Archaeology, Assoc MNZPI Resource Management Planner

Carrie has over 14 years’ experience in resource management and statutory planning roles in both the private and government agency sectors in the Wakatipu region.

She has been involved in a wide range of projects in our District and has a particular interest in commercial tourism and recreational activities and rural residential developments. Carrie also has a strong passion for our local heritage and anything historical.

Carrie has a range of skills preparing local and regional consent and concession applications, recreation licences and permits.

She enjoys meeting with new clients and building strong working relationships.

As a local resident of 20 years she has a broad knowledge and understanding of our region.

Sue Slee

Office Manager

Sue Slee : Office Manager

Originally from the UK, but been enjoying the Queenstown lifestyle since November 2007, Sue joined the team at vivian+espie as Office Manager in April 2018. Prior to this Sue was Financial Controller and Human Resources Manager at another locally owned business for 11 years.

Her interests outside of work, apart from her family, are snowboarding and hitting the trails either on her mountain bike or running.

Contact Sue

What We’ve Done

Since establishing in 2004, vivian+espie have provided resource management planning and/or landscape planning advice on over 1,000 resource consent applications, district plan changes, or Environment Court appeal cases in the lower South Island.

Over the last decade we have provided advice and project management services in relation to a very wide variety of projects that have included:

Subdivision Consents / Projects

vivian+espie have been the lead planning and landscape consultants on many subdivisions in sensitive rural locations in a number of South Island Districts. Examples of our work include carefully designed subdivisions in locations such as The Mackenzie Basin, Lake Dunstan, Tarras, Hawea, rural Wanaka, the Wakatipu Basin and rural Glenorchy. We specialise in obtaining land use and subdivision consents in these areas where the visual effects need to be carefully managed. Work has ranged from initial feasibility advice, through conceptual design to detailed design, resource consenting and gaining titles. Projects have ranged from two lot subdivisions through to 200 lots.

Rural Subdivision applications – Queenstown Lakes District

Spatial Planning / Private Plan Change Projects / Planning Policy

We have assisted a number of clients in the creation of new District Plan zones in order to facilitate development and activities. Some key projects have included the Pukaki Tourism Zone in the Mackenzie District, the Quail Rise, Arrow South and Peninsula Bay Zones in the Queenstown Lakes District, the Rolleston L3 Rural Living Zones in the Selwyn District and the Residential 4A Zone in the Waimakariri District.

Pukaki Downs – Tourism Zone
Wooing Tree Estate – Cromwell, Central Otago

Surface of Water Activities

vivian+espie specialise in obtaining consents for surface of water activities. We have worked alongside many clients to assist them with consents for this type of activity. Recent examples include the Kiwi Water Park on Lake Dunstan, boat moorings in the Frankton Arm and a commercial fishing operation on Lake Wakatipu (Queenstown Fishing).

Queenstown Marina Development
Jetties & Boat Moorings

Heritage Projects

Our team members understand the complexities of heritage projects having assisted in obtaining consents for many proposals involving buildings. Examples of this work include the historic former Queenstown Courthouse (change of use to a bar / restaurant), (Category 1 Listing with Heritage NZ), a change of use for the historic Glenpanel Homestead (Category 3 Listing), along with Dudley’s Cottage and the Threepwood Stables.

Dudley’s Cottage, Arrowtown Chinese Village (2019)
Threepwood Stables Dwelling

Commercial Activities

Our team have worked on many complex commercial projects including presenting proposals to urban design panels and providing expert evidence in the Environment Court. Some examples of projects we have worked on include the Mitre 10 Mega Building at the Frankton Flats area and a new office and retail development on a key central block on Beach Street in central Queenstown. Some of our other projects are detailed below.

Recreational Activity – Hot Tubs
Cowboy’s Bar – Extension


vivian+espie have worked on many consents for home builders and investors alike to enable the full potential of a property to be realised. Whether our clients have been wanting to rent out their current property to visitors or build something that is slightly outside of the District Plan requirements, with our skills and knowledge we have been able to assist them with their projects.

Residential Visitor Accommodation Activities

Residential Builds

New Property Purchases

vivian+espie has carried out many Due Diligence reports for its clients to assist in the buying and selling of properties. These reports set out the planning issues and opportunities with a particular site.

Landscape and Visual Effects Assessment

vivian+espie provide specialist services in relation to assessing and reporting on the landscape and visual effects of proposed developments. Assessments range from large scale landscape changes, such as new zones or infrastructural projects, down to the effects of a single building. Examples of our work in this area are a cottage on the Wanaka Mount Aspiring Road and Guide Hill Station in the Mackenzie Basin.

Guide Hill Station – Mackenzie Basin

Wanaka Mount Aspiring Road – Cottage

District plan formulation projects

vivian+espie were extensively involved in the formulation of the Queenstown Lakes District Plan in the early 2000’s, including presenting extensive evidence to the Environment Court in the process of settling appeals to the new Plan.

Since that time we have been heavily involved in the current review of the Queenstown Lakes District Plan on behalf of a number of clients, as well as in the settlement of key parts of the Central Otago District Plan, the Christchurch City District Plan and the Mackenzie District Plan. vivian+espie also helped prepare the Business Mixed Use and Residential Design Guidelines which have been incorporated as documents into the Proposed District Plan.

Large scale infrastructural projects

State Highway 6 Kawarau Falls Bridge

vivian+espie have provided key resource management and landscape planning inputs for a wide range of infrastructural projects. From small scale matters like Notice of requirement over existing infrastructure, to The Project Hayes, Mount Stuart and Flat Hills windfarms in Central Otago and Southland; the State Highway 6 Kawarau Falls Bridge; the Manuherikia Irrigation Project and the MacRae’s Flat goldmining operation in the Waitaki District.

Concessions, licences and leases on public land

Our team have helped our clients achieve their projects on reserve and conservation land. We have applied for concessions, licences and leases on public reserve land. We have also prepared Reserve Management Plans for local government. Approval had to be sought from various parties including the harbour master, Contact Energy and Land Information NZ.

Kiwi Water Park
Queenstown Marina

The above are some examples of the broad and varied work we have carried out for some of our clients. We will be happy to discuss our track record in relation to your own individual type of project.

What Others Say

I have worked with the principals of vivian+espie for a number of years. They are well known and respected in the region for their experience and knowledge, not only of what they do, but of the region itself. They understand the fragile landscape within which we live and work, and more importantly they understand the rules adopted by the Queenstown Lakes District Council to protect such landscapes, as in many cases they were instrumental in drafting them. Such experience, knowledge and understanding goes a long way, but more than anything makes their clients’ involvement in resource management processes easier, as in my experience vivian+espie are personally known, respected and generally held in very high standing by consent authorities and other consultants involved in the area.

Graeme Todd

Carey, Ben, and team came to our reforestation project to solve the nearly impossible problem of gaining complex consents across an Outstanding Natural Landscape. Their approach was and is open, honest, organized and thorough. They listen, observe, and inquire, refining from that mass of information the diamond in the rough, the exact perspective and story that not only moves through Council with astounding ease but provides a framework and inspiration to those of us on the project itself. Since 2012 they have completed multiple resource consents, amendments, and variations for our project, and they continue to facilitate us in a variety of interactions with Council, neighbors, and the community at large. In short, they are brilliant, tenacious, and reliable and we have yet to encounter easier people to work with. I don’t think they can walk on water, but I wouldn’t rule it out completely.

Rob Lay, PhD
Consent Applicant

I have worked with Vivian+Espie Resource Management Consultancy for over a year now on a particularly complex and multi-faceted tourism project in the Rural General zone – LandEscape Wanaka. This project had the potential to be contentious and very difficult as it is set on a key location within a small farming property just outside Wanaka. Vivian+Espie have helped steer the project through the turbulent waters of the Resource Consent process in a manner that has avoided controversy, evaded some of the worst aspects of the process and appears set to achieve a very positive outcome. The project has had several process driven changes in strategy and direction and the team at Vivian+Espie have handled these with aplomb and alacrity and given meaningful and useful advice throughout the journey.

I assure the uninitiated entering this process that you absolutely must have highly professional advisors to guide you through the unavoidable realities of an uncaring bureaucratic system that really wants to eat you alive and will do so if you let it. I unreservedly recommend Vivian+Espie for the task.

Rik Deaton
Consent Applicant / LandEscape Wanaka

Contact Us

How can we help?

Tell us about your project and goals, and we’ll set up a time to chat:

Vivian Espie Ltd

p: +64 3 441 4189

Carey Vivian – +64 274 858 123
Ben Espie – +64 27 561 9384
Blair Devlin – +64 21 222 6393

1/211B Glenda Drive, Frankton, Queenstown 9300