A+W NZ Interviews Past NZIA President Christina van Bohemen

12 June 2018

To mark the significance of her term as the second female President of the NZIA, A+W NZ met with Christina van Bohemen on Monday 11 June 2018, to record in an interview some of her thoughts and reflections on her experiences as President. We know that having a female leader of the Institute is important role modelling for the younger generation of architects and students, and want to add our voice to those who have called attention to the importance of Christina's leadership between May 2016 and May 2018.

To mark the occasion of the end of her term, A+W NZ Core team members Sukshma Paranjpe and Divya Purushotham met with Christina for an interview. You can listen to the interview here.

Christina van Bohemen inherited the mantle of being the second female NZIA President, the first being Helen Tippett 27 years before her, in 1989. It is important to ensure that such a long gap does not occur again.

On behalf of our over 700 A+W NZ members, we would sincerely like to thank Christina for representing the many women who are involved with architecture in some way.

Image: L-R: Divya Purushotham, Christina van Bohemen and Sukshma Paranjpe

Interview Questions:


The establishment of The Diversity (A)Genda, a joint initiative with Engineering New Zealand and ICENZ, is one of your signature achievements during your two year term. Could you tell us a bit about why this was important to you, and what you hope it will achieve in the upcoming years?

Regional Representation:

Over the last two years we have watched you make appearances all over the country for various events, especially around the annual regional awards programme. How important has it been for you to maintain broad connections around the country to get a sense of the issues that NZIA members are currently dealing with?

Inclusion: Mana Whenua

At the start of your term in 2016, you inherited the ongoing work and passion of Past-President Pip Cheshire, and the work done in developing a covenant between Nga Aho and the NZIA. On 8 February 2017 you signed the Kawenata o Rata, an important and powerful document that many would say is decades late. Have you seen positive impacts of this agreement since the signing, and what kind of outcomes do you look forward to seeing from this established relationship?


You were interviewed by Justine Harvey at the start of your Presidency term, with the interview published in architecturenz (July 2016, Issue 4). To prompt some reflection, I wonder if we can repeat three of Justine’s questions from that interview in 2016? It would be interesting to hear how your responses may now be different in 2018, and what you believe has changed since then.


What do you think are the key issues and challenges concerning the profession – in both the short and long term, here in New Zealand, and have you any thoughts yet about how these might be tackled? (JH)

The housing shortage is a topical issue in New Zealand; is there more the industry could be doing? (JH)

How do you think the wider profession can redress the gender imbalance? (JH)