Paul Wilson


My primary role is to manage the team at Xyst’s Napier office and to assist our other consultants to bring innovative, best practice solutions for our clients. I have deep knowledge across the key areas of Xyst’s services and share it for our collective benefit. I’m the go-to guy for technical issues and problem solving.

I have a knack for quickly finding alternative solutions and applying them to our client needs. My independent lighting design services are sought after for astro-tourism initiatives, and sports and park lighting projects across New Zealand.

You can contact me for help with

My expertise

I started my career in parks working a summer job at Nelson Lakes National Park before studying parks, recreation and tourism at university. After a winter in Antarctica and counting reindeer in the arctic I spent eight years with DOC as a recreation planner developing facilities in Fiordland. 

I moved to local government holding senior open space planning, service delivery and general manager roles in community services for 17 years in Auckland and Queenstown. Over this time, I developed specialisations in lighting design, procurement, project management, contract management and strategy and planning. 

My broad background and knowledge in recreation, tourism and community planning have been invaluable in helping our clients deliver great outcomes for their communities over the last ten years. 


  • Diploma in Parks and Recreation Management, Lincoln University
  • Post Graduate Diploma in Applied Science and Technology (Lighting), Massey University
  • Certificate in Infrastructure Procurement Level 6


  • Accredited Recreation Professional (ARPro)
  • Certified International Parks Professional (CIPP)
  • Tech IESANZ (Illuminating Engineering Society of Australia and New Zealand)

Xyst in action

The management of freedom camping has been one of the most challenging issues facing some communities over the last 20 years. With a wide range of highly emotive views on the matter, many communities have struggled to cope with the unprecedented demand for freedom camping opportunities. 

I represented Queenstown Lakes District Council and the New Zealand Recreation Association on the first national Freedom Camping Forum and contributed to the development of the Freedom Camping Act. I developed Queenstown’s first Freedom Camping policy and subsequent camping strategies including implementation of initiatives such as consistent signage, self-containment messaging and facility development. Many of these initiatives have been adopted nationwide. 

While Queenstown’s approach to freedom camping has been unpopular with some, it has served Queenstown well and protected local recreation opportunities and the environment.



We do everything required to create safe, sustainable trails that allow people to enjoy the outdoors without having an impact on the environment

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Service Delivery

From procuring and managing contractors to the practical implementation of strategic work, we can help you to deliver services efficiently

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Along with Yardstick, our international benchmarking program for local government, if you need research to make good decisions, we can get it for you

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Play Spaces

From redevelopments to new builds, our children need safe, fun play spaces to get them outside for fresh air and exercise

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With the growing demand for land and space, we can provide you with efficient strategies and solutions for managing cemeteries

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From design and planning to maintenance, we can help to ensure people have a great experience when they enjoy your campgrounds and facilities

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Asset Management

Having accurate information about assets allows you to make practical, workable decisions about maintaining and developing community spaces

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My Projects

Service Delivery Options

Xyst were engaged at short notice to undertake a comprehensive cost comparison of out-sourced maintenance versus in-house operations. The analysis included a 10 year whole

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Freedom Camping Review

Xyst was engaged to review the current state of freedom camping in the Ōpōtiki District and provide options and recommendations for the future management of

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Sports Lighting Review

Nelson City has over 350 sports lights across the city. Xyst reviewed its 2018 condition assessment and gathered further information on the ownership and operation

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Signage Suite & Procurement

The Mackenzie District Council initiated a Brand Guide (2020) to establish consistency in the Council’s visual representation. Subsequently, Xyst conducted an audit of Council signs

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Milford Opportunities Project

Milford Sound Piopiotahi is one of New Zealand’s most popular visitor attractions and iconic destinations in the world. 870,000 visitors went to Milford Sound Piopiotahi

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Track Asset Review

Undertook a detailed trail assessment of all Ruapehu District Council (RDC) managed trails using Xyst’s trail assessment system and against HB8630:2004. An individual assessment report

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Open Space Strategy

Working closely with Kapiti Coast District Council and in partnership with iwi, Xyst developed a Strategy to safeguard and guide the provision of open space

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Taurapa Sculpture Lighting

Xyst worked with the Taurapa artist, Maia Hegglun to retrospectively install lighting to illuminate Maia’s work. We produced rendering’s and concept drawings, obtained consents along

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Playground Maintenance Plan

Xyst developed a playground maintenance plan for all of Napier City Council’s playgrounds based on each playgrounds level of service. Maintenance plans also took into

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Parks & Facilities Management

Xyst was brought on board after a thorough risk and performance evaluation of the Mackenzie District Council’s parks and community facilities operations. Xyst was then

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Responsible Camping Strategy

We prepared a research based approach to camping (not just freedom camping) and through a series of interactive community workshops delivered a practical strategy based

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Nelson Camping Hub

The Council resolved to provide a central service hub for campers visiting Nelson. Xyst identified potential sites and negotiated a lease for a disused petrol

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East Cape Campground

Xyst prepared a concept plan to assist the Iwi Trust to develop the campground in a sustainable way, retaining the unique character of the site

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Water Conservation Plan

A Water Conservation Plan specifically related to Napier City Council’s key sports grounds, amenity gardens and water features. This was among one of the first

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Play Strategy Review

Xyst worked with the client to transition them from a traditional Playground Strategy to a Play Strategy. The Strategy analysed the current state of Napier’s

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Sports Lighting Assessment

Xyst conducted an evaluation of 372 sports lights in the Waipa District by physically visiting each location to appraise the lights’ condition and evaluate their

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Level of Service Summary

Xyst identified and developed Levels of Service through a series of staff workshops, assisted by an analysis of the current asset inventory and review of

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Capacity Review

Xyst worked closely with the Hutt City Parks and Reserves team to review their operations, property, planning, project management and contract management roles. Using a

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