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Whakaahuangia tō taone - Pātai auau

Shape your city - FAQs

Have a look at the questions we’ve already received, you might find the answer you are looking for.

Te Papa centres and neighbourhoods

Te Papa is well placed to support the growth of our city. It already has existing infrastructure, a range of services and activities, significant employment hubs and schools, a mix of housing and is relatively resilient to natural hazards. Enabling more people to live in Te Papa makes good use of these existing investments. Other established parts of the city will also be looked at to cater for further growth in the future.

Centres are places that provide a hub for communities to go to for work, shopping, play and interaction. In centres you would generally expect to have places where you can relax and connect with others, as well as retail, offices and hospitality. Locating higher-density housing in and around centres means people can live closer to where they work. This results in productivity benefits for business while giving better access to amenities and services. It makes efficient use of existing social and hard infrastructure (like libraries and water pipes). It improves the viability of public transport services as they get more use, while promoting health and protecting the environment through more walking and cycling and less use of cars. The main centres in Te Papa today are the city centre (or CBD), the hospital precinct, Merivale, Gate Pa and Greerton.

Find out more about the ideas we’re proposing to support growth in these areas.

Growth and development in Tauranga

Sometimes people ask why we’re not simply shutting the gates – stopping the growth of our city and of the western Bay of Plenty. It’s not that simple. Population growth is not a council decision – it’s the difference between the number of people coming into the area and people leaving – both from other parts of NZ, and from other countries – and our population’s natural growth too. Preventing new housing developments will not reduce the flow of people moving here but will increase house prices and rents for those that already live here. This has flow-on effects that could result in higher rates of homelessness, poverty, inequality and poorer health outcomes.

Te Papa will definitely get busier over the next 30 years as our city continues to grow and change, and as we enable greater housing choice to attract more people to live in this area of the city. The Te Papa Plan provides us with an opportunity to achieve positive outcomes from this growth. The feedback you provided to date has helped us identify the benefits we all expect to see as an outcome of this growth and change. This includes providing greater recognition of our history, culture and diversity, providing neighbourhoods where you can easily walk to the places that you need to go, and providing an environment that supports you to be healthy and active. Greater housing choice means that there will be a variety of living opportunities across the peninsula, from an active and vibrant city centre through to quieter residential communities in some areas.

This is a big concern that people have when we talk about increasing building densities and we have responded to this in a variety of ways. We’re working to enable greater housing choice by making it easier for people to build a greater variety of housing types, in Te Papa and across the rest of the city. We’re looking at the rules we should put in place in the city plan to ensure duplexes, townhouses and apartments create great spaces for people to live in, and great neighbourhoods as well. The rules address topics such as building height, setbacks, outdoor open space, fences and walls, streetscape etc. These rules play a big role in avoiding the concrete jungle feel. For example: we want to limit fence heights on the road frontage so that homes can look onto the street and passers-by can have the feeling of openness and visual connection with the houses, which increases safety of both. We’re also proposing some rules to avoid big blank walls with no windows. All together these rules will help create liveable homes and neighbourhoods. The Te Papa Plan builds on this further by ensuring that all the public infrastructure is in place to create liveable, unique, connected and healthy neighbourhoods. For example, parks and reserves where people can play and relax, and streets with increased amenity like shops and services to reduce the impact of higher density buildings.

My property and impacts on it

No, there is no requirement to make changes to your property. This is your home, and what you do with your land and property is up to you. These proposed changes to the city plan will give you the opportunity to build something different if you want to at some point.

There are existing provisions/rules in the Tauranga City Plan that protect privacy and we’re not planning on getting rid of any of those. This includes rules such as setbacks and site coverage – so this means that your neighbours won’t be able to build towering buildings right next to your fence line. We’re also proposing to add assessment criteria in the city plan that will mean more control on how well a proposed development creates and protects amenity for the properties next door. For example, we’ll require that windows be setback so there is no direct line of sight, we’ll assess how the proposed layout of buildings help minimise noise impacts, and where balconies and upper levels are located to limit direct overlooking.

All land within the city is given a zone. Each zone has a set of rules for subdivision, land use and development within the Tauranga City Plan. So you can build different types of dwellings/properties in different zones, and specific rules apply to each zone – like building height, outdoor open space or overshadowing.

To find out which zone your property is in you can check the city planning maps, go to our online map viewer Mapi and search for your property (find address) or ask one of our team.

Here are the zones that we’re proposing to make changes to as part of the Housing Choice plan change and the Te Papa Plan.

  • The Suburban Residential Zone spreads across a large part of the city. Its role is to provide for residential development, typically of a lower-density.
  • The Commercial Zone is where you can build shops and businesses, consolidated into commercial centres across the city like the city centre, Mount Mainstreet, Gate Pa, Cherrywood and many others.
  • To help create vibrant, mixed-use commercial centres, this zone allows for residential development in association with commercial development (e.g. shops on the ground floor, apartments on the floors above).
  • The City Living Zone is in the area around the city centre. It provides for intensive multi-level housing (apartments) and some mixed use in established residential areas.

Different types of housing

A duplex is a residential building that has two attached residential units on one site. It means two houses that share a common wall.

A row of townhouses is where three of more houses are joined by their side walls. They typically have individual front doors and pedestrian access to dwellings, either directly off the street or from shared driveways.

An apartment building is a multi-storey building that is mainly for residential use with individual residential units on all or most floors. In commercial locations, apartment buildings are likely to have commercial activities on the ground floor.

Impacts on infrastructure and transportation

We know traffic congestion affects everyone in our city but unfortunately we can’t fix these problems in isolation or overnight. Our transport projects focus primarily on people’s safety, while looking for ways to balance everyone’s travel needs whether they’re walking, biking, riding on mobility scooters, catching the bus or driving. We want to make it safer and easier for people to move around Tauranga. For the projects that align with the Government’s vision for transport across New Zealand, we are working with the NZ Transport Agency to get funding support. This would enable us to proceed at a quicker pace than what we would be able to achieve on our own, but as always change doesn’t happen overnight and any development will be staged. But some projects are already happening in this space such as the planning for short-term improvements (0-10 years) along Cameron Road from the city centre to Tauranga Hospital. The main aim is to provide our community with choice in ways to get around the city, instead of relying mainly on cars, and to support the outcomes we want to achieve through the Te Papa Plan. Find out more about Tauranga City Council's main transport projects.

The Te Papa Plan, the Housing Choice plan change and the Urban Form and Transport Initiative (UFTI) are strongly linked. Together, these projects lay out the pathway for the sustainable growth of our city, including working with central government and other partners to enable the infrastructure and funding we need now and in the future. With a fast-changing city at our hands, a collaborative working approach is key to overcome the challenges and realise the benefits of growth. Providing for a greater variety of housing choice within our existing suburban residential zone and close to amenities is a good place to start. Building up instead of out allows more people to live in any given area and share existing and new infrastructure and amenity. That reduces the infrastructure required and lowers overall infrastructure costs. It also allows more people to make choices in the way they choose to live, with potential to lower their everyday living costs (such as choosing to walk or cycle when they live close to work).

Remember that change from any of the above projects will not happen overnight. UFTI looks at how our city could change over the next 50 to 100 years, the Te Papa Plan is a 30-year plan of action and change in the city through the Housing Choice plan change will happen overtime as people decide to redevelop their sections in existing urban areas. This means we don’t have to do everything all at once and we will need to prioritise where and what we invest in first.

We're building a new water treatment plant at the moment. You can find more information on this at Wairiri Water Supply Scheme.

We have already modelled intensification through the delivery of duplexes and this modelling showed that we can accommodate this growth through our existing networks and 30 year infrastructure strategy.

In addition, as part of the plan change process, we are undertaking water and wastewater modelling to ensure we have enough capacity within the network to provide services for larger developments in the future and that we are meeting our levels of service. Depending on the outcomes of this modelling, we may require people applying for a consent for a comprehensive development (like a row of townhouses) to carry out further assessments to ensure that we can supply water and wastewater services.

Social and environmental impacts

The Housing Choice plan change, and everything else council is doing to increase land supply for housing (like enabling development of new urban areas) is all to help provide for our city’s growth. Making it easier for people to build a greater variety of housing types, through the proposed changes to the city plan, should in turn increase the range of house prices and rents available on the market.

But housing affordability is a complex issue that depends on multiple things, and not one we’ll be able to solve on our own or from one day to the next. This plan change, to make it easier for people to build more compact homes, is one step in that direction.

Another component of this discussion is social housing – which is largely a central government function. Through the Te Papa Plan we’re working with Accessible Properties and Kāinga Ora as they look at how to increase their stock of available homes for families in need in Tauranga, by redeveloping the properties they own in the Te Papa area.

We want to create healthy neighbourhoods in Te Papa, supported by an environment that encourages us to be healthy and active in our day to day lives and interact with other people and the space around us. To achieve this, we require an environment that is cared for by all, designed in a way that maximises access to the natural environment, and increases biodiversity, water and air quality. This includes changing the way we currently move around, so that more people choose sustainable modes of transport such as walking, cycling and public transport. It also includes how we design our environment – such as use of native planting, reintroduction of species, encouraging green initiatives in building development and incorporating trees and vegetation into the public realm.

As part of the Housing Choice plan change we are proposing to make it a requirement for people applying for a consent for more intensive developments like rows of townhouses, to demonstrate how they will manage waste on site.


The Tauranga Race Course sits on 34 hectares of Crown-owned land in Greerton. Racing Tauranga, who operates the racecourse, has a lease in place until 2040. We have identified that we will engage with existing users, community, mana whenua and stakeholders on the long term future of the race course land. Any potential change would likely be in the longer term (20+years). If the land becomes available, future plans for the site would consider a range of uses, including possibility for a mix of housing, open space and other amenities that would benefit the community.

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