Lynda Simmons Stands Down from Co-Chair

20 June 2019

The end of an era - Lynda Simmons is the last of the initial founding group to step down from a leadership position. We want to say a big thank you to Lynda for her eight years of service to the organisation, and a warm welcome to the new Co-Chair, Lindley Naismith.

Lynda said she is proud to leave the organisation in such strong form, with a talented, energetic and thriving core team. She hasn't left the organisation entirely - she stays on as Research Leader, and in a newly-created position of 'Archivist'. As the last of the founding members, it is important to the organisation to maintain an 'institutional memory', and Lynda will continue to maintain the website and archives.
Reading out her 'resignation letter' at the meeting, Lynda considered what has changed in the profession and what hasn't since A+W NZ was founded in 2011, a version of which will be published in an upcoming Opinion column she writes for the ArchitectureNZ magazine. The list of the many wonderful people she thanked is below.

Below is an excerpt of Lynda's 'resignation letter' - because it is so important to acknowledge the many, many people who have been part of this network over the years.


Starting of course with Divya, who has been such a fantastic Co-Chair this past year, we have achieved so much and had a lot of fun doing it. She brings her own approach to the role, (quiet, efficient and effective) - and the current excellent team – Ysabelle, Suchi, Anner, Theja, Lauren,  - it is wonderful to leave A+W NZ in such strong hands.

Thanks to the previous wonderful core team members - especially Suki Paranjpe, Nicole Allen, Lauren Speer, Kitty Fan, Rebecca Green, Ashleigh Smith and Amber Ruckes

Some of the many past Event organisors and helpers  - Hannah Sharp, Siran Li, Kayley Feng (and their teams, especially for the Speed-Mentoring events, you created something wonderful - Janice Au, Bojana Kavrakovska, Pam Sando, Dasha Tapa), Aimee Lee, Victoria Streeter, Hannah Andrews, Mishori Dunraj, Alex Pirie, Fritha Hobbs,

The energy behind 2013 - Sara-Lee/Chia-Lin Chin and Lucas Doolan of Mill Space, Marianne Calvelo, Emma Morris, Kim Huynh, Liz Tjahjana, Natalie Tan, Raukura Turei, Shareena Sumeran, Lindley Naismith and John Balasoglou, Charissa Snijders, Wendy Shacklock, Shandiz Shahram, Sue Hedges,

Highly involved members - Ainsley O’Connell, Christina van Bohemen, Justine Clarke and Gill Matthewson, Elizabeth Seuseu, Jo Aitken, Kathy Waghorn, Julia Gatley, Lucy Treep, Julie Stout, Sharon Jansen, Anna Tong, Min Hall, Lorna Hamilton, Nicole Stock, Jane Aimer,

Also to non-members who have given us so much - Ariane Craig-Smith, Linda Tyler, Catherine Griffiths, Elizabeth Cox, Tim Dawson (and I have already mentioned John Balasoglou and Lucas Doolan)

In Christchurch -  Maria Chin, Jane Rooney, (and teams) Brita Corbett, Jennifer Johns

In Wellington Sarah Bookman, Chloe Coles, Bronwyn Phillips, Peggy Russell, Ariane Pia, Kirsty Jones, Bridget Lensen, Amanda Kissling

In Southland - Virginia Barlowe, Anne Salmond,

In New Plymouth - Emily Batchelor

In Hawkes Bay - Courtney Vuicakau, Renee Woods, Alison Miranda, Hilary Finn


And I finish with thanking those who were there in the crazy and exciting days of the organisation's beginning -

Sarah Treadwell, our Mana Taumata and invaluable advisor,

and of course the Past Co-Founders and Co-Chairs – Megan Rule, Julie Wilson, and Elisapeta Heta,

I want to acknowledge everything that we have all done together.


As Divya has already pointed out, you can’t get rid of me completely – I am the last of the original core group to leave, and with me goes some institutional memory. To maintain this for the organisation, I will stay on as ‘archivist’, as well as Research Leader, which is where my true passion lies.

The continuity of organisational memory is also why I am so happy that Lindley said yes when we asked her to consider the position of Co-Chair – she was there with us – Megan, Julie, Elisapeta and I - for all of those early meetings at Alleluya café, leading into the (huge) 2013 exhibition. Lindley and John have been involved from the start of this organisation, helping raise the funds for our extraordinary Architecture Week events, which included a symposium, site visits, lectures workshops and of course our nationwide exhibitions. So it is with such great pleasure that we have Lindley back with us, she, too, holds some ‘institutional memory’ and can join the team seamlessly.

A+W NZ has given me so much – communal networks, the platform for a voice, strengthened connections to the profession and the institute, event-planning know-how, the knowledge that small interventions can have a large wavelike effect, and satisfying my political leanings when it comes to an architectural life.

But the most important thing that A+W NZ has given me is friendships and relationships with a range of wonderful people. Women and men who I may never have crossed paths with, and who have taught me, challenged me helped me and inspired me. Over the years A+W NZ meetings and AGMs have been filled with incredible people, just as it is tonight, and I want to thank every one of you for coming on this ride with me, and for continuing it in the years to come, while I watch."