Our work includes:
Our Auckland Light Rail team is made up of a diverse group of design, planning, communications, and urban development specialists from Aotearoa and around the world, but one thing we all have in common is our passion for sustainable transport.
We recently asked our team how they travel to our Auckland Light Rail office, which showed a huge 87% of us take public or active transport options for their journeys across Tāmaki Makaurau. A great demonstration of living our values.
Auckland Light Rail is New Zealand’s largest and most complex infrastructure project. It will bring far-reaching benefits for communities by increasing access, boosting economic growth and unlocking productivity gains across the region. Our chair and board member understand the opportunity this project provides and have the experience and insight to lead the delivery of light rail for Auckland.
Dame Fran Wilde, DNZM, QSO has held a distinguished career in national and local politics and held a range of governance roles across the private and public sectors, including infrastructure, finance, arts and education.
A former Member of Parliament, she has also held Ministerial portfolios. She is a former Mayor of Wellington, and previously held the role of Chair of the Greater Wellington Regional Council, CEO of the NZ Trade Development Board and has been a Chief Crown Negotiator for Treaty of Waitangi settlements. Her current governance roles include board chair of Te Papa Tongarewa the Museum of New Zealand, the Royal New Zealand Plunket Trust, the Asia New Zealand Foundation and the Wellington Lifelines group.
Leigh Auton is an executive leader with extensive governance experience including local and central government, iwi and not for profit entities.
He was the Independent Chair of the Auckland Light Rail Establishment Unit. He is a former President and Inaugural Fellow of the NZ Planning Institute and, in November 2009, he received a Distinguished Service Award for his significant contribution over many years to the practice of planning. He is a long-time resident of Counties Manukau and the former Chief Executive of Manukau City Council. He has a strong track record in transport infrastructure, including the upgrade of Auckland’s heavy rail network, Manukau Rail Station and Te Irirangi Drive. Leigh is Chair of the People and Culture Committee of Auckland Light Rail.
Heather Ash has a deep understanding of the planning and consenting process and has provided advice across a range of urban development projects.
She was a partner at law firm, Simpson Grierson, where she led the Auckland Local Government and Environmental Law team. She was involved in the development of Auckland Council’s Unitary Plan, particularly the urban growth strategy and residential capacity. She has worked extensively with local government and related organisations. She has been a Commissioner for the EPA under the Covid-19 Recovery (Fast-Track) Consenting Act 2020 – specifically the Queenstown Arterial designation and consents. She is the Chair of the Auckland Girls’ Grammar School Foundation and has been a member of the New Zealand Council of Legal Education.
A decedent of Ngāti Paoa, Ngāti Whanaunga hononga to Tāmaki Makaurau, Lucy Tukua has been passionately active in both tribal governance and operations and is also an experienced Director.
She has been instrumental in supporting the protection of cultural heritage and the promotion of cultural expression through narratives and design. She is a founding member of the Māori Housing national peak sector body and for Ngā Aho, a national collective of Māori creatives and is a representative on the Auckland Council Urban Design Panel's Governance Board. She was instrumental in the initiation and development of the national Māori Outcomes framework. After many years at the helm of her own consultancy NativebyNature she is now the Kaihautu Whakarito - Technical Director Regenerative Outcomes for Mott MacDonald.
A Chartered Accountant, Leo was the lead audit partner on several publicly listed entities on the New Zealand Stock Exchange and worked on large projects in complex operating environments.
He was a partner at PwC New Zealand between 1999 and 2022. Leo has also held governance roles such as serving as the Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee for Counties Manukau District Health Board, the Council for Auckland University of Technology, and the Board of New Zealand Opera. Leo is passionate about serving his Pacific community and has worked for a number of not-for-profit community organisations. Leo is chair of the Audit and Risk Committee of Auckland Light Rail Limited.
Shane Ellison is a senior executive, with global experience leading diverse teams, most recently in the transport and infrastructure sector. He was Chief Executive of Auckland Transport from 2017 to 2022 where he is credited with leading a significant culture change and performance improvements including championing the expansion of active modes and people focused strategy. Prior to that he worked in Australian and France for Transdev, one of the world’s largest transport operators where among his responsibilities he was involved in light rail projects and light rail operations in Dublin, Jerusalem, Toronto, Bergen, Gold Coast, Sydney, and Parramatta. Shane is currently Deputy Chair of the Dunedin International Airport Ltd Board and has other advisory roles with Koau Capital Partners and the Queensland Investment Corporation.
Chris Aiken is a business leader with extensive experience in large scale property and urban development sectors. He recognises both the demand for equitable access to housing and the generational shift in how many urban Kiwis now prefer to live, and has a successful record of such innovation and delivery in the public and private sector. For many years Chris was Chief Executive of HLC Limited (now merged into Kāinga Ora) responsible for establishing the mixed used urban community of Hobsonville Point and delivering the large regeneration projects in Northcote, Roskill and Māngere. He is involved in pioneering the development of modular pre-built homes and apartments, which promise quicker build times and lower costs. Chris is a director on the Kāinga Ora Construction Programme Assurance Panel, a director with Kiwi Property Group and advisor to the construction and development sector.
Our leadership team is made up of recognised leaders in their fields, with collective experience across some of New Zealand's biggest projects.
As Chief Executive for the Auckland Light Rail Group, Tommy leads New Zealand’s largest ever infrastructure investment and transformational, multiagency urban and transport project. He has held senior management and governance roles with Arup as Australasian Consulting Lead, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, Fletcher Construction and Auckland Transport.
Tommy's leadership in sustainability, resilience and the environment has seen the delivery of challenging infrastructure projects that respond to complex problems both in the United Kingdom and New Zealand. His commitment to industry wide innovation and excellence is seen in his leadership of the Construction Industry Zero Harm Group and North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery (Kaikoura) and as initiator of the national Roading Efficiency Group.
Lucy is responsible for leading the Corporate and Policy functions within Auckland Light Rail. With a legal background Lucy has led teams delivering governance, commercial, operational and policy outcomes in listed companies and in the public sector. She enjoys providing elegant solutions to legal and commercial problems.
After ten years in private practice in New Zealand and the UK, Lucy spent 14 years working in the legal teams for Telecom and Chorus including as General Counsel and Company Secretary as well as leading Telecom's property and network assets. Lucy was General Counsel Strategic Projects for Waka Kotahi for four years, transitioning to leading governance and policy in the Light Rail establishment unit. She is inspired by serving our communities and the opportunity Light Rail provides for leaving a legacy by building the skills and capability for New Zealand to deliver megaprojects.
Sarah leads the communications, engagement, media and stakeholder functions within Auckland Light Rail. She is passionate about helping ensure that transport delivers a broad range of social benefits to communities and is a strong advocate for enabling customer voices to contribute meaningfully to project outcomes.
Sarah is excited to be helping to further enhance relationships and advocacy for the project as it moves into the next phases. As the National Manager for Communications and Engagement at Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, Sarah was responsible for strategic oversight of high-profile infrastructure projects as well as significant policy and strategic programmes such as Road to Zero, regulatory functions, mode shift and climate change as well as internal and change functions.
With a background in media, both at TVNZ and the BBC, Sarah has been recognised for her crisis and issues management and her use of proactive storytelling to enhance organisational reputation and social license.
Cam Law leads work across Business Planning, which includes consenting, sustainability and the Business Case process. A Resource Management lawyer for more than 20 years, with stints at Chapman Tripp and Russell McVeagh, as well as in-house, leading the RMA team at Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency. He has spent most of his career working on transport infrastructure and property development projects including as part of the team that successfully consented the Waterview Connection project.
Cam understands Auckland Light Rail is much more than a transport project - it's an opportunity to integrate land use and transport – to change how we live, how move, how we work and play. He relishes the opportunity to deliver a project that reduces our carbon footprint with every trip taken (or forgone) and to give back to future generations.
Amanda has more than 20 years’ experience in strategic urban planning, specialising in growth and spatial planning for Auckland. She led Manukau City Council’s growth management approach and masterplanning for town centres up to the formation of Auckland Council in 2010. Her role with Auckland Council has seen significant contributions to the development of the Auckland Plan Development Strategy as well as planning for growth in the future urban areas of Auckland.
Most recently, Amanda has played a key role in leading urban and spatial planning advice on behalf of Auckland Council for several key transport projects including the Auckland Transport Alignment Programme and previous Auckland Light Rail business cases. Amanda is excited to be part of a new era for Tamaki Makaurau where transport and urban decision making is truly integrated from the outset to ensure quality outcomes for the city and its communities.
Alan leads the Delivery workstream, responsible for a broad range of activities including transport strategy, operations and maintenance, design, property and procurement. With more than 15 years transportation experience in onsite project management, design and design management, Alan has held leadership roles on some of Auckland's most significant transport projects, including Wiri Depot (electric train maintenance and stabling facility), Eastern Busway and City Rail Link.
Most recently, he's been leading the design of Auckland Light Rail, a project he's been involved with over the past seven years. Alan is a chartered Professional Engineer, with a PGDip Business (Operations Management). Along with his broad technical knowledge he is also passionate about building strong relationships. He enjoys the complexity and challenges of Auckland Light Rail, along with the opportunity to help shape Tāmaki Makaurau to improve the lives of Aucklanders and future generations.
Tipa is of Tainui waka descent, with whakapapa to the Parewaikato, Parehauraki and Waiohua sections of the canoe. His Marae are situated on the shores of Tikapa moana and Te Manukanuka o Hoturoa as well as the awa of Waikato.
Raised in the Ngahere of Te Waonui o Tiriwa and the urban rohe of Waipareira, Tipa is a true Westie at heart and a Hauraki tangata by whakapapa. He has held senior roles managing Treaty Partnerships across local government and is a passionate advocate for enabling te ao Maori participation in decision making and recognising mana whenua hononga, historical connection and future aspirations.
Previous roles include GM Maori- Relationships & Participation at Auckland Council and Treaty Partnerships Manager for Auckland Transport where he managed consultation with and oversight of complex traditional indigenous rights regarding Council owned land assets and delegated Crown water right allocation and facilitated engagement with the 19 recognised Iwi of Tamaki Makaurau.
Tipa wants to harness the opportunities light rail can enable for Maori as the Te Tiriti Partner and the support the development of innovative te taio, procurement and commercial opportunities with Mana whenua & Mataawaka.
Meet some of the people behind the scenes and learn what drives their passion for the project.