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Mahere taiao ki Wairākei

Wairākei landscape plan

Wairakei landscape plan

Tauranga City Council has prepared a landscape plan for the 15km long Te Ara o Wairākei Stream reserve corridor, stretching from Pacific View Road to the Te Tumu boundary.

The project is taking place in stages and is scheduled to be completed in 2025.

Stage 2 has been completed, and plans are being developed for the final stages.

We want to:

  • ensure the reserve reflects and incorporates the cultural heritage and significance of the area to tangata whenua
  • reach a compromise and find a middle ground on designs by listening and incorporating feedback from adjacent landowners, tangata whenua
  • protect the important function of this stormwater corridor, to manage excess stormwater after heavy rain events and protect houses from flooding
  • preserve and enrich the natural environment of Te Ara o Wairākei Stream and create a habitat for a diverse range of wildlife

Commissioners planting a large tree alongside Te Ara O Wairākei July 2022

Key features of the landscape plan:

  • planting of lower growing native species
  • inclusion of more native trees, surrounded by low-level planting to provide shade and food for local wildlife
  • improving water quality, the ecology of the area, and the biodiversity of the stream
  • building shared paths, bridges, and boardwalks giving cyclists and walkers’ better access to the reserve and improving links to the surrounding community
  • Creating seating and planting shady trees for people to rest and enjoy the space
  • Installing signage to share stories cultural significance with local iwi and hapū
  • Educate visitors about the role of a stormwater reserve and ecology of the area

May 2022 - Media release - Te Ara o Wairākei Planting to Go Ahead

How did we come up with this plan?

Riparian planting (planting on the water edge) of this stormwater corridor is taking place as part of a national policy driving improved quality of fresh water in New Zealand.

Te Ara o Wairākei landscape plan was developed after meetings with project partners, local iwi Waitaha and Ngā Pōtiki, resident representatives, and people who regularly use the reserve.

What’s next?

Planting plans are being developed for Areas 4 and 5 of Te Ara o Wairākei Stream:

  • Area 4 is from Mandalay Key to Golden Sands Drive
  • Area 5 continues from Golden Sands Drive through to Te Tumu.

Te Ara O Wairākei Reserve - updated concept and plant list (2.1mb pdf) 


Planting is scheduled to take place in April-May 2023 and will be completed in the following planting season (2024).


The revised planting plan reflects feedback from residents and mana whenua while still aligning with Bay of Plenty regional Council Landscape and Cultural Management Plans.

Key features:

  • areas allowing for access to water
  • low-level planting to support established plants
  • enhancing the regeneration of natural wetland
  • easier reserve maintenance
  • trees providing shade for people and wildlife

The area adjacent to the Wairākei Town Centre development is still to be confirmed in collaboration with the developer.

What you will see:

Te Ara O Wairākei Reserve - updated concept and plant list (2.1mb pdf) 

The following designs will ensure a mix of native and riparian (water’s edge) habitat.

Stage 2 – Royal Palm Beach

Planting in stage 2 is now complete.

The planting approach was amended from the original plan, to reflect feedback from mana whenua and residents and includes significant changes such as:

  • larger areas free from planting
  • enabling water views and regular access to the water edge while improving the ecological and cultural values of the waterway.

The compromise reached will see fewer plants planted, which could reduce the diversity of the natural habitat.

Planting plan area two - updated

For more details on the planting, please view the report to the commissioners


The predominantly Council owned Wairākei Stream Corridor is located within Papamoa and extends for approximately 14km before reversing via a 4km long blind ‘back arm’ in Te Tumu. The stream relies on in-stream storage and soakage for the management of stormwater and mitigation of flooding within the existing Papamoa area, the urban growth area in Wairākei (under development) and also the future development area of Te Tumu.

Council holds a Comprehensive Stormwater Discharge Consent to address stormwater management and the discharge of treated stormwater runoff in Papamoa. This stipulated a 100% stormwater storage mitigation requirement as a means to mitigate stormwater discharges and associated flood risk.

The Comprehensive Stormwater Discharge Consent was varied in 2015, after appeal proceedings and mediation, to improve the economic viability of land development in the area. New conditions were added at this time requiring the preparation and implementation of both Landscape and Cultural Plans for the Wairākei Stream corridor by 2025 (one Cultural Plan for each of the 3 Iwi groups who were a party to the appeal).

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If you have any questions or would like further information contact us at
07 577 7000


  • Consent variation drives landscape plan design and consultation

    2015 to early 2017
  • Planting starts in Area 1 and 2  – including community planting day

    April to June 2019
  • Planting in Area 3 (Domain Rd to Parton Rd)

    June 2019
  • Planting paused due to resident feedback in Area 2 (Palm Beach West) 

    May 2020 - May 2022
  • Designs for Area 2 (Palm Beach West) and Area 5 (Golden Sands Drive to Stage 2 Te Tumu Boundary) being revisited 

  • Engagement with Palm Beach West and Area 5 communities proposed 

    2021 - early 2023
  • Timing for planting in Palm Beach West and Area 5 

    Winter planting season 2023 / 2024
  • Landscape plan implementation completed 


History of Te Ara O Wairākei

Long time Pāpāmoa residents might remember this waterway was once known as the Pāpāmoa Main Drain. In 2004 the original name of the stream, Wairākei, was reinstated and in recognition, more recently, the reserve was named Te Ara O Wairākei - the path of the Wairākei.

The stormwater function of the corridor has a history that pre-dates residential development by many decades and has been maintained by successive Boards and Council organisations.

Until 1910, the Wairākei Stream headwaters flowed down from Pāpāmoa Hills and Otawa. The headwaters merged with the dune wetlands of Omanu and Pāpāmoa, west of Domain Road. The Omanu and Pāpāmoa wetlands (low lying swamps between dune ridges, still visible today on undeveloped land) extended for kilometres between Omanu and the Kaituna River. The Wairākei Stream flowed east towards the Kaituna River, before turning west again and flowing out to sea at the Taylor Reserve estuary.

The Wairākei was a tidal river and navigable, with people travelling by waka to and from pā in the vast wetlands and dune plains. The Wairākei river was fringed with raupo and manuka and contained an abundance of fish, which could be seen from the banks in the clear water.

By the early 1800s flax became a commodity for trade. Land was drained and large-scale planting and harvesting supplied at least two flax mills near the Wairākei Stream and Kaituna River. Later that century swampland was converted to farmland.

From the late 1800s, the wetlands were managed by Land Drainage Boards. When the East Coast Main Trunk railway line was constructed in 1910, the Wairākei Stream’s headwaters were diverted and the stream mouth silted up causing flooding. To drain the wetlands and lower groundwater, Harrisons Cut artificial outlet was excavated in the early 1940s. By the 1960s, the Wairākei Stream estuary was filled in and a second artificial outlet installed (Grant Place weir) to continue to maintain lower groundwater levels and drain stormwater.

Below you will find a few questions and answers that will provide more insight into this project and what it’s aiming to achieve.

Tauranga City Council has started work to enhance sections of the Wairakei Stream reserve as part of the first phase of implementing the Te Ara o Wairakei landscape and cultural management plans. We’ve consulted with the public and heard your aspirations for the Wairakei Stream corridor and are looking to address these while fulfilling the agreed plans as required by the BOPRC issued resource consent.

The landscape plan is a condition of Council’s comprehensive stormwater consent for Papamoa and is designed to enhance the 15-kilometre-long stormwater reserve – between Pacific View Road in Papamoa and the Te Tumu boundary, including Taylor Reserve - encouraging people’s use and enjoyment of the area. 

The intent is to protect and enhance ecological and cultural values, including the planting an estimated 500,000 native plants along the stream margins. 

Besides managing stormwater, the reserve will include more walkways and cycling routes. It will also express the heritage and cultural significance that the area has for Tangata Whenua, through cultural art, signage and traditional practices in the reserve. 

Public consultation happened at the start of the project, and community feedback has been integrated into the design.

Work will be completed in two stages. Through to the end of 2025, work on stage one will be taking place through the Wairakei area, including the landward side of the Wairakei Stream from Pacific View Road through to Golden Sands Drive. 

Work on stage two will be taking place through the Te Tumu area. This area encompasses the rural zoned land from the eastern end of Papamoa Beach Road, eastward to the Kaituna River. Plans for this area will be further developed following rezoning. 

As part of the plan, 15 kilometres of the Wairākei stormwater reserve will be enhanced with new plants, landscaping, park furniture, signage and upgrades to the existing amenities. 

This includes: 

  • 11km of new cycleways and pathways - A series of bridges, cycleways, pathways, and boardwalks  have been installed along the reserve and walkways widened to allow for shared use.  
  • 25 hectares of vegetation enhancement - This includes trimming, crown lifting and removal of vegetation in some areas to improve safety, creation of 51 sediment retention wetlands, wetland and shrub planting, and park benches to sit and relax.
  • New signage - Signage identifying exits, roads, and wayfinding within the reserve will be installed, as well as special signs that recognise places of cultural and historical importance.

Throughout the year, certain phases of the work will require the use of machinery to undertake the landscape works. Disruption to residential areas is expected to be minimal, and each stage of work will progress quickly. 

Wairākei Landscape plan flyer (2mb pdf)

  • Of the 919 survey respondents, 34% think planting along the entire corridor is a good idea, 16% think it’s good but want to exclude ponds/Palm Beach West and 20% don’t think planting anywhere is good. Of the group that say yes, 3% live in Palm Beach West.
  • An additional 28% of respondents didn’t choose yes or no, but selected ‘other’. Of this group, 64% say yes to planting conditional to suggestions such as ‘not in certain areas’ or have more specific requests.

Wairākei survey summary report (789kb pdf)

We are aware of some misinformation about the objectives of this project published on signs in the reserve and a related website. The information provided on the website mixes opinion with fact which isn’t in everybody’s interest. To ensure the community receives facts, we list a few key ones about planting:

  • Benefits of riparian planting are scientifically proven, they form part of the national drive to improve freshwater quality and address some of the very issues people in the area are concerned about, most importantly the quality of the water and stabilising banks.
  • Short growing natives have been chosen to retain water views.
  • Riparian planting will also improve biodiversity, by reducing water temperature and improving habitat for native resident species.
  • Planting is a fundamental part of the landscape and cultural management plans for the stormwater reserve.
  • The reserve is council owned land that forms part of a stormwater network managed for the benefit of the wider community. It is available for public use and enjoyment under the specific requirements of a resource consent. 


Document library

Stage 1: Wairākei landscape plan

Te Ara O Wairākei & Taylor Reserve Landscape Design Report pages 1-41 (484kb pdf)
Appendix 1 pages 42-63 (360kb pdf)
Appendix 2 pages 64-194 (16mb pdf)
Appendix 3 pages 195-208 (28mb pdf)
Appendix 4 pages 209-251 (31mb pdf)

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