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Taparere wharenoho mātoru-nui

Where higher densities may be limited

There are some areas that will likely be identified as unsuitable for higher densities, like locations of historical and cultural significance and viewshafts to significant landscapes like Mauao.

Through the plan change process, we must justify why density and height is being limited.These reasons, called ‘qualifying matters’, can’t be used to prohibit intensification altogether, but they can be used to moderate the level of building height and density in places.

Qualifying matters

Some areas of the city, such as cultural and heritage sites, areas subject to natural hazards, and areas with outstanding natural features like Mauao, may limit higher densities. These qualifying matters may moderate the level of building height and density in places.

Most of the features and areas identified below are already in the City Plan. To continue protecting these areas from increased density, we must justify them as qualifying matters through this plan change. We’re also proposing to add three new qualifying matters.

Airport slopes and surfaces

Development within the flight path must ensure that it does not adversely affect air traffic safety. A resource consent is required for any proposed building that would encroach the airport slopes and surfaces, as identified in Section 5: Diagram 2 of the City Plan

Open space (zoned)

Open space is used for recreation, amenity, conservation (including ecological), heritage and landscape purposes. Residential and commercial activities are not permitted within an open space zone. Residential or commercial development is not envisaged within these zones.

Any intensification proposed within these zones will require the land to be rezoned through a separate City Plan change process


Views to Mauao from key locations, such as marae, are protected. A resource consent is required for a building or structure that encroaches the viewshafts identified in Section 7 of the City Plan.

Outstanding natural features and landscapes

The protection of Outstanding Natural Features and Landscapes (ONFL) and Important Amenity Landscapes (IAL) is a matter of national importance. ONFL and IAL protect key public views and landscapes. Any proposed residential or commercial building located within an ONFL or IAL requires a resource consent.

Significant ecological areas

The protection of Significant Ecological Areas (SEA) is a matter of national importance. SEAs identify, protect, maintain and enhance indigenous flora and fauna, protecting Tauranga’s biodiversity. Any proposed residential or commercial building located within an SEA requires a resource consent.

Natural hazards - Flood hazard plan area

Identifies and manages development within areas prone to flooding from coastal inundation. Development within the Flood Hazard Plan Area requires a restricted discretionary resource consent.

Natural hazards - Coastal erosion plan area and coastal protection plan area

Identifies and manages development within areas affected by coastal erosion. Development within the 50- and 100-year Erosion Risk Zone requires a resource consent. New dwellings within the Current Erosion Risk Zone is prohibited.

Intensification in the Coastal Protection Plan Area is non-complying and resource consent must be obtained.

Significant Māori Areas

Identifies and protects Significant Māori Areas (SMA), which is a matter of national importance. SMAs are culturally significant to tangata whenua, allowing Māori to maintain their culture and traditions with their ancestral lands, water, areas, waahi tapu and other taonga. Development within an SMA requires a discretionary resource consent.

Significant Archaeological Areas

Tauranga has a number of Significant Archaeological Areas (SAA) which reflect the city’s rich pre-European and post-European history. The City Plan identifies and ensures the values of significant archaeological sites are appropriately managed. Development within an SAA requires a discretionary resource consent.

Built heritage

The protection of historic heritage is a matter of national importance. The City Plan identifies and protects build heritage across the City. Development on a site which has built heritage item/s requires a resource consent.

The Elms Foundation site and surrounds

The Elms is a significant heritage site. The City Plan seeks to ensure that the site retains its historic significance and is not overshadowed by high density development around it. The Medium Density Residential Standards will be enabled in the area surrounding the Elms site. However, development proposing increased heights beyond those standards will require a resource consent.

The Strand - Open Space/waterfront

Tauranga waterfront has high recreational and amenity values for the community. This area is protected from development to allow for continued use and enjoyment of the waterfront by the community.

Conservation Zone

The Conservation Zone primarily applies to open space that borders on the harbour and coastal margins of the city, or has significant cultural and heritage, landscape and/or ecological values. Priority is given to the protection of these areas. As such, a minimum of 5m setback from the boundary of the Conservation Zone is required for all buildings.

Heights on Dive Crescent

Retain the culturally significant viewshaft from Monmouth Redoubt and Cliff Road to the water by reducing building heights on Dive Crescent.

Retain reduced height at 51 Dive Crescent for the continued protection of the significant cultural and historic values of Otamataha Pā.

Mauao/Mount Maunganui Catchment

Mount Maunganui is a popular area with significant amenity, cultural and natural environment values. The area has already been built up significantly over time. Council plans to undertake a spatial plan for Mount Maunganui in 2023 which will take into consideration the most appropriate areas to intensify. 

Medium Density Residential Standards will be permitted. Other permitted height limits are shown in Appendix 14A of the city plan. Proposed heights encroaching the height limits will require a resource consent. 

Low density business

Industrial land has been identified within the walkable catchment of four centres, being Tweed Street, Mount Maunganui, Greerton and Wairakei.

Residential activities are not provided on these sites as they are zoned Industry, Port Industry or Papamoa East Employment. These areas provide business land suitable for low density businesses only.

Pukehinahina surrounds

The Pukehinahina reserve and domain are sites of national importance with significant heritage and cultural values. 

Transitional heights around the site are proposed to prevent the site from being dominated by new development. MDRS will be enabled directly adjacent to the site and height will be increased in steps to 27metres away from the Pukehinahina.

High-Voltage Transmission Plan Area

The High-Voltage Transmission Plan Area identifies the high-voltage transmission network within the City and provides for the sustainable, secure and efficient use and development of that network. It is important to avoid adverse effects on and from lines and support structures. Development undertaken within the associated buffer areas will require a resource consent.

Natural hazards - Flooding from intense rainfall

Identifies and manages development within areas prone to flooding from intense rainfall. Development located in a flood prone area with flood depth less than 300mm is permitted. 
Development located in a flood prone area (flood depth over 300mm), overland flow path or floodplain requires a resource consent. 

Other rules and existing legislation

 The rules in other parts of the city plan (such as access and earthwork requirements) will still stand, as will the rules that manage development through other legislation like the Building Act.

For example, if your section is in a floodplain, the MDRS won’t automatically apply. So if you’re looking at developing your land, it’s a good idea to get planning advice first – our Duty Planner is there to help.


Covenants across the city restrict how owners can use their property. These are separate to the city plan and will continue to apply if you have one on your property.

Read the detailed provisions relating to qualifying matters

Volume 6 – Qualifying matters (2.3mb pdf)

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