Elise Young

Recreation and Open Space Consultant

I am passionate about our sector and making a difference. I always produce work to the best of my ability and take the client on the journey with me. I like to positively challenge thinking and the way things have always been done to continually seek better solutions.

My role involves working with a variety of clients across the country and assisting with their needs in the parks and recreation sector. We are generally engaged by clients who have limited internal capacity or require our unique skills and expertise.

I also undertake strategic planning work, policy development, research, analysis and report writing. Xyst is also a part of Toitū, a carbon and environmental programme which measures, monitors and sets goals to improve the company’s carbon footprint.

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My expertise

I have completed a Bachelors of Sport and Recreation Management and a Masters of Applied Science majoring in Parks and Recreation Management from Lincoln University. I’ve always worked in outdoor and recreation spaces, including serving as a lifeguard and receptionist at various aquatic centres, and working for the Auckland Council and Napier City Council before coming to Xyst.

In my spare time, I guide secondary school students on multi-day hikes to assist them towards their Duke of Edinburgh Awards. I’ve also completed Te Reo Māori, Level 2, at the Eastern Institute of Technology (2020) and Tikanga Māori (2021) through Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.


  • Bachelor of Sport and Recreation Management, Lincoln University
  • Master of Applied Science (Parks, Sport and Recreation), Lincoln University
  • Te Reo Māori, Level 2, Eastern Institute of Technology
  • Tikanga Māori, Te Wānanga o Aotearoa


  • Accredited Recreation Professional (ARPro)

Xyst in action

Xyst understands the importance of community engagement in any project, large or small, and the ability to deliver results when circumstances change. I was proud to assist a client with a Māori community art project as the ‘middle-person’ between the community group and the client. Our community group engaged an artist who worked with the community to develop a meaningful design.

As the project evolved, the cost to produce the artwork was beyond the client’s budget. Considering tikanga and the community involvement, simplifying the artist’s design was not a desired outcome for anyone. We worked together to seek external funding to complete the project, ensuring we achieved the desired outcome for the community, artist and client.



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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My Projects

Sportsground Assessment Report

Xyst worked with the New Zealand Sports Turf Institute (NZSTI) to understand the City’s sportsground conditions. Areas requiring capital investment were identified, risks were discussed

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Pakipaki Pouwhenua

This project brought numerous enhancements to a section of State Highway 2, which passes the Pakipaki community and Te Kura o Pakipaki, all aimed at

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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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Kiwirail land use options

The project considered opportunities for use of land that Council leases from KiwiRail. Xyst undertook desktop research and stakeholder consultation to inform potential future opportunities.

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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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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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Project Blessings

Xyst has been engaged by Waka Kotahi numerous times to assist with the organisation of blessings. These events have been both prior to works beginning

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Open Space Consultation

Xyst developed a Consultation Plan for the Parks and Open Spaces Strategy. At a high level the consultation was split into two phases. Phase one

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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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Howie Park Concept Plan

Xyst undertook consultation with key stakeholders and the community to understand how the park was used and to identify key issues and opportunities to enhance

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