Sustainable and responsible land use a focus for newly-appointed director

Cheal director Nick Davies is striving for sustainable, responsible land use


As any surveyor will tell you, the job’s not all measuring this, marking that, and Rotorua-based Nick Davies will certainly tell you there’s more complexity to it than meets the eye.

He’s been in the game for around 30 years, accumulating a wealth of experience and expertise that recently saw him promoted to Director at local firm Cheal Consultants. Cheal Consultants was established in 1940 in Taupo, and now has 80 staff across six offices in Taupo, Rotorua, Hamilton, Napier, Ohakune and Taumarunui.

As a licensed cadastral surveyor, the crux of Nick’s work lies in the recording of property boundaries, subdivision lines, buildings, and other related details to inform development. However, this work is just the tip of the iceberg, he says, and as the effects of climate change become more prominent, he’s noticing an increased need to focus on developments that are sustainable and promote resilience.

He says a core part of surveying work is in finding workable solutions to deal with land that is prone to vulnerability or is subject to complex layers of regulation and standards, and he’s noticed a heightened need for this in recent years, but notes that, interestingly, decarbonisation is not being considered yet.

“For example, here in Rotorua, land can be prone to flooding, and as developments build up into the hillside, we need to be thinking of innovative ways to manage the flow of stormwater from houses and designing systems to cope with short-duration events of intense rainfall and ensuring such flooding is not exacerbated.

“Surveying incorporates multiple layers of environmental, policy, and social complexity, and particularly as our land use comes under more scrutiny in response to climate change, navigating these layers well is key for designing towns and cities that are more resilient to the effects of climate change.”

Nick has had 16 years’ experience in Rotorua, having joined Canmap Hawley in 2007 which was bought and incorporated into Cheal in April 2014. Prior to that he was in a surveying role in Auckland, before making the move to Rotorua to make the most of the lakes and mountain biking trails.

Nick’s appointment as Director comes at a time when businesses are having to consider their own contributions to sustainability, and he says those at a leadership and governance level will need to think not only about the recommendations they are making to clients, but what they’re also doing in their own business practices.

“We’re certainly thinking about how ESG (environmental, social, and governance) can be factored into how we do business at Cheal ourselves, considering what our own environmental impact is, and how we might develop that approach when we align with other projects and businesses going forward.”

Chief Executive Rebecca (Beck) Hawke says Nick’s promotion to Director reflects Cheal’s continued growth, and the emerging need to focus at a governance level on sustainable practices and promoting responsible land use.

“We are delighted to promote Nick to the director role, this is a well-deserved recognition for him and the outstanding contribution he has made over the years he has been with us, and the commitment he shows to his clients.

“As Cheal continues to grow in both clients and technical capabilities, it’s important that alongside considering our company structure to support increasing scale and complexity, we’re maintaining our local and regional outlook.

“We’re so pleased to have Nick on board at a governance level to help with the expertise required in this space as we continue to support the communities we live in and nurture the kind of sustainable development we can be proud of in the years to come.”

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