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Future Thinker

of the Year

Celebrating the students and recent graduates making waves in sustainable building


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Future Thinker of the Year is awarded annually to a student or recent graduate who has demonstrated environmental knowledge and leadership.

This could be through activism, research, or achievements in and out of work. The award recognises success and passion for green buildings, and offers an opportunity to make a real difference across Aotearoa’s built environment. 

Future Thinker of the Year 2024 announced!

“I’m thrilled that, as finalists, NZGBC provided this platform for us to share our innovations and our challenges to the industry last night. For my own vision and mahi to have been acknowledged is an honour. To optimise the impact of green initiatives, we need to build trust, exposure, and data exchange between academia, practice, and disciplines. I look forward to connecting with other agents of change in a bid to transform industry mindsets regarding biomaterials and digital design, and to make experience-rich learning more accessible to young people,”

Maria Walker
Future Thinker of the Year 2023

Open to apprentices, students and anyone who graduated in the last 4 years, Future Thinker of the Year awards our young leaders who are passionate about sustainability, can champion the values of the NZGBC, and who will help inspire change in our built environment. 

This year we had an incredibly strong set of applicants, with six shortlisted: Elizabeth Norris, Oluwatobi Oyefusi, Ryan Simpson, Mike Murray, Francisco Carbajal and Widi Auliagisni.

Four finalists; Elizabeth Norris, Francisco Carbajal, Mike Murray and Widi Auliagisni were chosen by our independent panel of judges and each joined us at our awards evening on April 30 held at the Annex, thanks to venue sponsor Precinct Properties.

Meet our previous winners


Future Thinker of the Year 2023

Maria Walker

Senior Consultant Sustainability and Climate Change - Aurecon



Future Thinker of the Year 2022

Eloise Blewden

Master of Architecture student at Victoria University of Wellington

Future Thinker of the Year 2021

Meredith Dale

Urban strategist with The Urban Advisory and University of Auckland graduate - Masters in Urban Planning and Urban Design

Future Thinker of the Year 2020

Tessa Meyer

Corporate responsibility advisor at Eke Panuku

Future Thinker of the Year 2019

Kate Boylan

Sustainability engineer at Tonkin + Taylor

Thanks to our Future Thinker sponsors

Warren and Mahoney
Mott MacDonald

Become a Future Thinker

Join our network of students and young professionals passionate about a sustainable built environment

Upcoming events

Check out our calendar of coffee catch ups and networking opportunities