Focus areas

Along with key issues we must think about some focus areas around the city. It will be important to consider these areas as we grow.


Central City – Te Aro to Port

The Central City is the economic and social hub of the Wellington Region. A significant number of the Region’s jobs are within the Wellington CBD in Central Government or the Technology industry. The CBD café culture and night life are also a drawcard for many and keep the city vibrant.

The Central City is considered to be the area bounded by Buckle Street/State Highway 1 to the South and west, the Harbour, and the Port to the North.

In 2016, Te Aro had the highest number of consented dwellings out of all suburbs in Wellington. This part of the Central City is likely to experience even more change over the next 30 years with the population expected to double. This means a significant number of new apartment blocks in the central city. All of the scenarios show significant growth in the central city.

This part of the city contains some earthquake-prone and older commercial buildings which provide opportunities for redevelopment.

We also need to consider what additional investment might be required to ensure this area is a liveable place for all. The waterfront, Waitangi Park, and Pukeahu provide amenity and open space for visitors and residents alike. However, we also need to think about what additional parks and open space may be needed, and how we can design new apartments with private outdoor space.

However, the central city is also an area that has some challenges, particularly in relation to natural hazards. Sea level rise, earthquakes, and liquefaction are particular concerns for the central city. New development will also need to be designed to ensure that the risks associated with these hazards are reduced or minimised. This may mean construction costs are higher. We will also have to consider significant investment in central city infrastructure to manage additional drainage challenges associated with sea level rise.

The Port is also a key area for the City’s economy and transport network. Located at the northern end of the CBD and at the City’s northern gateway, this is a key site for the City. The Port itself also has specific operational needs to enable it to run efficiently and to supply the goods and services required by the City and the region. In planning for the City’s future growth we also need to consider how the Port could be better integrated with the wider city in terms of urban amenity, transport and connectivity.

Character Areas (pre 1930s protection)

The inner suburbs of Mt Victoria, Thorndon, Aro Valley, Holloway Road/The Terrace, Mt Cook, Newtown and Berhampore are recognised for their ‘character’. This character is a result of a combination of things such as topography, site sizes, architectural styles, building ages, and the scale of buildings.

These areas have a concentration of buildings constructed prior to 1930. Rules in the District Plan currently control the demolition and alteration of these buildings in order to maintain this distinctive character. Redevelopment of these sites is therefore generally discouraged.

These character areas were first identified in the 1990s/early 2000s and cover approximately 5,000 dwellings in the inner suburbs. The Council recently undertook an assessment of all properties in these areas to gain an understanding of how well this character been retained since the controls were first put in place.

The assessment shows that, overall, character has been retained in many areas with 40% of pre-1930 properties making a ‘primary’ contribution to character. A further 37% were considered ‘contributory’. However, there are also some areas where changes over time have changed the overall character of an area.

These areas are also where there is demand for housing, due to their close proximity to the CBD (within 5km), public transport and other services. In most of these areas the land is lower risk in terms of natural hazards than other parts of the City.

The scenarios would result in different levels of change in these areas, as follows:

  • Scenario 1 (Inner City Focus) – would require removing the pre-1930s character protection across most of the inner suburbs, particularly in Newtown, Berhampore, Mt Cook and parts of Mt Victoria.
  • Scenario 2 (Suburban Centre Focus) – would require reducing the extent of the character areas, particularly around Newtown and Berhampore where high density housing is considered
  • Scenarios 3 and 4 (New greenfield suburb and extensions) – low or no changes to the pre-1930s character controls would be required as new growth is focussed in suburban centres and greenfield areas.

We want to understand from the community what level of change would be supported in the inner suburbs so that we can determine to what extent we may need to remove or reduce ‘pre-1930s’ character protection in these areas. This information will help us understand how the community values these areas, and to develop a preferred approach to growth.

Map of Pre-1930s Character Areas

Te Motu Kairangi/Miramar Peninsula

The Miramar Peninsula comprises a diverse range of established communities from Miramar to Breaker Bay and Moa Point. It is home to Wellington’s film industry and is strategically located adjacent to the Wellington International Airport.

It has a rich cultural past with many important maori cultural sites and areas from past occupations.  In more recent times it has had a strong European military presence with the development Shelly Bay and Fort Dorset (now developed for residential purposes), and many world war fortifications and memorials.

Watts Peninsula which forms the northern most tip of this area is one of the few places in the heart of the city that has large areas of open, undeveloped land.  Most of this land is currently owned by the Government but is currently being considered for disposal.   It comprises of the former Mt Crawford Prison and other Ministry of Defence land.

This presents an opportunity to have a wider conversation with the community about how this land and Miramar Peninsula as a whole could be developed in a way that maximises the benefits of living, working, and visiting the Miramar Peninsula, with investment in social and affordable housing, public transport and infrastructure.

Map of Miramar Peninsula

Upper Stebbings and Marshall Ridge

Upper Stebbings, Marshall Ridge, and the western hills of Glenside comprise 260 hectares of undeveloped, rural zoned land.  The land is located between Glenside and Churton Park in the south and Tawa to the north. The land has the potential to provide up to 2000 new houses over the next 10-20 years.  This is a one of the last undeveloped greenfield areas within the existing urban footprint of the City.

Late last year the Council undertook engagement with the Tawa, Glenside and Churton Park communities on a proposed plan for this area (a ‘Structure Plan’).  People told us that the future community should be inclusive and diverse with green spaces, have quality transport systems, and infrastructure that helps improve water quality and prevents flooding.

Other considerations are the impact of development on existing infrastructure and transport networks and specific design issues such as how and where to connect the future communities to Tawa and Churton Park.  Further investigations are currently underway.

A draft Structure Plan is proposed to be taken to Councillors for approval and finalisation in late 2019/early 2020.  This would then be included in the spatial plan and the District Plan when it is notified in late 2021/early 2020.

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