30 Jun 2020

This article first appeared in Engineering New Zealand’s EG magazine in June 2020.

Bronwyn Rhynd


Based in: Auckland
Role: Director and Shareholder of CKL – Planning, Surveying, Engineering, Environmental
Education: New Zealand Certificate in Civil Engineering then Bachelor of Engineering (Civil), University of Auckland, 1998; Master of Environmental Engineering Science, University of New South Wales, 2010

What inspired you to become an engineer?
Leaving school to head outdoors was the reason engineering appealed. I started as a cadet with WSP in the drafting department. As I moved through surveying and construction it cemented that the indoors wasn’t for me. I wanted to be involved in shaping the way roading and land development supported New Zealand’s way of life.

Who opened a key door for you?
I’ve had many opportunities, mostly as guidance and encouragement from family, friends, dedicated lecturers and former employers. The real turning point was when I started my own company in the specialist field of stormwater management. I had confidence there was a need for dedicated expertise and I had the skills to make it happen. I couldn’t have achieved this without the first job I had when I was fresh out of university, with Pattle Delamore Partners. More recently, the merger of my company Stormwater Solutions with CKL – I’m now part of a larger family of like-minded, talented professionals.

At the end of each day, what tells you whether you’ve been successful?
It’s not just about work completed and client feedback – success is also about relationships built with clients and team members. Mentoring and developing younger engineers is important to me and to the future of the profession. I also get great satisfaction knowing the work we’re doing is protecting or regenerating New Zealand’s rivers and streams and positively shaping the future of our land and natural resources.

What’s the most innovative project you’ve worked on?
Judges Bay, Auckland. The whole team, which included urban designers, landscape architects, archaeologists and stormwater specialists, turned an underutilised reserve into something for Auckland to be proud of. Families can enjoy the park areas and swim in the beach with confidence knowing the stormwater runoff has been cleaned.

How do you connect your work with a sense of greater good?
The guiding principle for all the work we undertake is to ensure sustainability, in design and function, regardless of the scale of the project. We have undertaken community projects where we have introduced rainwater collection tanks to water community gardens. CKL has worked with UNICEF, improving access to drinking water and sanitation. We also partner with Sustainable Coastlines.

What mistake have you learned the most from?
Good communication is key and something I value highly. If you can communicate well and really understand the people you are working with, things go a lot more smoothly.

What makes you a good leader?
It’s important to have a vision and a goal: know where you want to take people, communicate that clearly and ensure everyone is heading in the same direction. It comes down to listening, learning and interpreting.

How do you start a difficult conversation with someone you lead or manage?
Honesty is important. I don’t shy away from difficult conversations as every challenge provides us with a valuable opportunity to learn and grow.

Who is a New Zealand leader you admire?
We can learn a lot from our sporting leaders who contribute so much to their sport, develop players and share their passion, then represent us on the world stage. Silver Ferns head coach Dame Noeline Taurua had a clear vision and managed to turn our team around and guide them to the 2019 Netball World Cup.

Bronwyn Rhynd recognised as Engineering NZ Fellow