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Sue Graham

Masters in Resource and Environmental Planning

After studying part time, working full time and raising a family for the last six years I graduated with a Masters degree in Resource and Environmental Planning with honours in May 2012. Massey offering this whole degree extramurally has allowed me to do this. Their teaching support has been excellent and they always have time to help you out when you need it!
Before starting this degree I had studied at Massey for 7 years working part time when my three kids were little, the youngest just a baby. I completed a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and started working at Horowhenua District Council in GIS. I started studying part time straight away in this position to up skill myself in GIS and completed 2 GIS papers through Massey. After working in this role for 18 months I became interested in Planning and started in a new position as a Resource Management Planner. I then started studying towards a Masters in Resource and Environmental Planning, one GIS paper was a core paper in this degree and I was able to cross credit the other paper towards it. After working in this position for a couple of years I applied for the position of Senior Planner which is my current position that I have held for the last three years. My employers at HDC have been very supportive through my studies!
Studying planning while working in the field and learning a new job has been invaluable as the learning has been very relevant to my work and vice versa. The contact courses have been particularly valuable with full on learning crammed into the week or few days at Massey and excellent networking. My core work is processing resource consents and the planning law and professional practice papers have been particularly helpful in this area. I especially enjoyed the research paper which is really focusing the culmination of all you have learned into an area you are interested in. I undertook research into the protection of Tangata Whenua values through the Horowhenua District Plan for this paper. This is being addressed through the District Plan Review which is due to be notified this year and which I have had some involvement in.
If you are interested in this field it is an excellent degree to pursue which you can take internally or extramurally. Studying extramurally is great with the flexibility it allows you! A few of pieces of advice I would give if you decide to go down this route are:

  • Plan time to study and stick to it, if something comes up plan catch up time.
  • Make a quiet area for yourself to study to avoid distractions.
  • Don’t hesitate to call or e mail your supervisor if you need help.

For more information about the course Sue studied see Master of Resource and Environmental Planning.

Sue Graham

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