Social impact assessment (SIA) provides information to decision makers, affected people and communities, when planning for infrastructure and economic development projects (Burdge and Colleagues, 2004). The SIA process (or ‘cycle’) is analytical and predictive in nature; it helps to identify potential social impacts before an action is taken. Social impacts can be described as changes to peoples’ lives, planned or unplanned, positive or negative, that arise either from human activity (an infrastructure development for example) or from naturally occurring events. In instances when negative social impacts are predicted or (after the fact) are evident, social impact assessment practitioners suggest mitigations that will balance economic, social, and environmental outcomes, and promote equitable and sustainable development. SIA was applied in Aotearoa New Zealand from the late 1970s to major projects, such as to the large energy infrastructure projects that utilise and process energy resources, including, for example, the Huntly power station, oil and gas projects in Taranaki and Northland, and the Clyde dam (Taylor and Mackay, 2016), as also discussed further in the article by Charles Crothers in this issue of Impact Connector.