About Us

We are a boutique consultancy that is big enough to handle all scales of projects,
but small enough to ensure all our clients receive a personalised solution towards their desired results


With decades of experience in both the public and private sector, Avant Planning and Urban Design are leading specialists in delivering resource consents of all varieties. We can do this through our strong understanding of both technical information and council processes. We pride ourselves on our ability to pursue creative, efficient, and customised solutions for clients to ensure a successful project outcomes.

What Makes Us Different


Most importantly, engaging with Avant Planning and Urban Design differs from the conventional corporate consultancies as there are not multiple layers of “middle” management. We are a boutique consultancy that is big enough to handle projects of any scale, but small enough to ensure all our clients receive a personalised solution towards their desired results —creating a service that is intimate, personal, and effective.


Sunny Kan  (MUrbDes, BPlan (hons), Int.NZPI)


Sunny is an all-rounder with understanding the planning process and the inner workings of Council consenting practices and has planning experiences in Auckland and Wellington. He has developed a holistic approach to understanding consenting requirements and finding constructive solutions to achieving what the client needs. Sunny is a qualified urban design specialist and has experience working for Auckland Council as an urban designer and privately providing urban design assessments for development projects.

Mike Yu  (BPlan,MNZPI)


Mike covers all aspects of planning, ranging from project inception to delivery with a keen eye for detail. Skills he has acquired through a multitude of professional experiences both within New Zealand and the UK. Before Avant Planning and Urban Design, Mike held a senior managerial position in a multi-disciplinary company where his work performance gave confidence and security to his wide range of clients.

Mike’s overall ambition is to address all his client needs through thoughtful execution.

Eimear Clancy

Office Manager

Eimear (pronounced “Aim-Er”, like a person who aims) is our resident administrative powerhouse. With 5 years of experience as an administrator in the hospitality sector, Eimear is used to a fast-paced environment and delivers a quick turnaround for our clients & team.

Gyanendra Datt

Principal Planner

Gyanendra is our principal consultant with extensive knowledge and experience, having worked in both the public and private sectors in New Zealand and the UK. Gyanendra has been involved in all facets of planning, with experience in resource consenting and policy planning. Gyanendra manages our most complex projects as well as our public sector work; he also provides our internal and external staff training programmes.

Rakad Jaffar

Senior Planner

Rakad is a senior specialising in regulatory planning and has experience in both the private and public sectors in New Zealand. She has a pragmatic approach and is externally recognised for her project management skills. Given her background, Rakad has good working relationships with a range of stakeholders and experts and is able to communicate with a wide audience when it comes to understanding and applying the planning framework.

Emily Vandy

Senior Planner

Emily is a senior planner and has wide-ranging experience in both the public and private sectors, delivering a well-rounded approach to projects of all types and scales. She is solution-focused and builds strong rapport with our clients and partners, which is critical in achieving the best outcome for all parties. She is particularly well regarded for her considerate approach to each project and management of the resource consent processes.

Shilpa Maharaj

Planning Consultant

Shilpa has extensive experience in the private sector, managing the resource consenting processes for a variety of applications ranging from infill subdivisions to apartment buildings. She also prepared submissions for the Auckland Unitary Plan on behalf of clients during its notification process. Shilpa is pragmatic with a keen eye for detail which ensures that projects are delivered to a very high standard.

Tara Chemis

Planning Consultant

Tara holds the qualification of Bachelor of Urban Planning (Honours) and has assisted with the approvals of a wide range of applications including residential subdivision, commercial, rural and heritage character buildings. Tara is also well-versed with site feasibility studies and has a comprehensive understanding of the Auckland Unitary Plan. She is renowned for her efficiency and effective communication towards the successful delivery of clients’ projects.

Duncan Gibson

Planning Consultant

Duncan has a unique background, having had a career in Architecture and Urban Design prior to joining Avant as a Planning Consultant. He is an expert in feasibility studies and offers invaluable advice to our clients for multi-unit residential developments, drawing on his diverse background in design.

Alex Wierzbicki

Planning Consultant

Alex is a planner and urban designer currently completing his Masters at the University of Auckland. He comes from internships at infrastructure and consultancy firms and brings an analytical perspective to planning processes.