Our Story

Koru Environmental was set up in December 2006 by Sue Ira. Sue has a Master of Science Degree from the University of Cape Town, South Africa. Having worked in South Africa, England and New Zealand, she has acquired a number of years of experience in environmental impact assessments as well as project and stormwater management, with a particular focus on water sensitive design (WSD) and green infrastructure.

Our Approach

Koru Environmental strives to be a leader in stormwater and environmental management. By exceeding expectations through excellence, we establish trusting and long term relationships.

Sue Ira - Director

Sue is the Director of Koru Environmental and has a Master of Science (Environmental and Geographical Science) from the University of Cape Town, South Africa. She has long had a passion for sustainable water management, investigating ways of building resilience into stormwater management, and working with local communities.

Sue has extensive experience in stormwater and project management, and in environmental education in South Africa, the United Kingdom and New Zealand.

In South Africa, Sue compiled and wrote integrated catchment management plans for 3 major stream systems within the Western Cape. In addition, she developed and delivered a training programme for construction workers, the purpose of which was to educate the workers on environmentally sensitive construction techniques.

In the United Kingdom, Sue worked with a tertiary college to ensure their financial and best practice targets were being met throughout the various departments. In addition, she managed their European Social Funding (ESF) applications (total value >£3,000,000).

Since coming to New Zealand in 2003, Sue worked at the former Auckland Regional Council prior to starting Koru Environmental. She started her time at the Auckland Regional Council (ARC) as a processing officer, but soon managed the stormwater consent team. Her work with the ARC ensures that she is familiar with resource management processes, stormwater network issues and the hearing/ environment court process. In addition, she has appeared in the Environment Court for the ARC as an expert witness.

Since leaving the ARC and starting Koru Environmental, Sue has further developed her stormwater technical and project management skills. She has provided expert stormwater training advice nationally (on behalf of Auckland Council, Water New Zealand and Waka Kotahi), and has provided input into a number of stormwater design manuals across New Zealand. She managed the former Rodney District Council stormwater CAPEX programme for 2.5 years and has developed policy documents for local councils relating to stormwater treatment and management. In addition, Sue has developed a multi-criteria analysis methodology for quadruple bottom line assessments for use in the evaluation of stormwater options.

In addition to being directly involved in the technical aspects of water sensitive design, Sue has also facilitated numerous stakeholder workshops, and was the lead consultation facilitator for Auckland Council’s stormwater network consents. Sue compiled, jointly with Clare Feeney, stakeholder engagement plans for Waikato Regional Council – including the Lake Waikare and Whangamarino Wetland Stakeholder Engagement Plan. More recently, she acted as the Technical Lead – Science for the Lake Waikare and Whangamarino Wetland catchment management plan on behalf of Waitako Regional Council.

On behalf of Landcare Research, Sue was the primary developer of the COSTnz stormwater life cycle costing model. She has also developed a methodology for costing stormwater treatment on a catchment-wide basis for NIWA and the Cawthron Institute Trust. Sue completed a literature review investigating the cost differential between water sensitive design/ green infrastructure and traditional stormwater management for the project. She was part of a National Science Funded project, along with Landcare Research, NIWA and Batstone Associates in order to “Activate WSUD in NZ”, and undertook the economic and alternative funding research for this project jointly with her fellow researchers. Sue has recently completed the development of a series of life cycle cost models for stormwater treatment interventions for Auckland Council’s Freshwater Management Tool. She developed a cost aggregation model for GWRC which determines costs of alternative development approaches to meet varying NPS Freshwater Management standards. Sue therefore has an excellent understanding of the short and long term financial implications of different types of stormwater management devices. Sue's current research is investigating carbon emissions from green infrastructure maintenance activities for linkage to the life cycle cost models.

Environment Canterbury, Greater Wellington Regional Council, Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Auckland Council have all retained Sue to undertake technical peer reviews to assist with processing of stormwater and wastewater consents, as well as infrastructure network consents, and expert WSD input into structure plans and catchment planning documents. Sue been appointed as an external peer reviewer on NIWA projects and has provided specialist stormwater management advice to AECOM, AR Associates, Pattle Delamore Partners (PDP) and Zealandia.

Working on behalf of Auckland Transport, and as a collaborative partner with PDP, Sue was instrumental in the scoping, design and installation of the first living roofs installed on bus shelters in New Zealand.