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Wharf Street upgrade

Rediscover the wharf at Tauranga’s newest alfresco destination in the heart of the city centre.

Wharf Street lights

The pedestrian-friendly street has been designed to bring people together, to gather, relax and eat. Through a central clearway, it connects the city centre with the harbour, and the new lighting system, native planting as well as seats and bike racks are part of our work to create a vibrant and successful city centre.

The project implements council’s vision to create better spaces that put our people first and celebrate our unique cultural and natural identity. 

Layout, materials used, lighting system and planting celebrate the meaning and enhance the individual character of Wharf Street day and night. The street’s central clearway connects the city to the harbour and provides a flexible space that can be used for outdoor dining and events. The experience is supported by programmable LED lights and a sequence of lighting that resembles ‘clouds’ gathering at the costal edge. Additional street trees provide shade and shrubs provide additional green areas.

As part of the upgrade, underground services such as sewer, water and stormwater have been renewed. To support the safe and attractive, people-friendly space, council declared Wharf Street a pedestrian mall in late 2020.

Some works are yet to be completed including several mana whenua design elements. A blessing of the street will occur when these elements have been installed.

Discover Wharf Street businesses

Why we’ve upgraded Wharf Street

The new Wharf Street is part of council’s ongoing efforts to create inviting and people-friendly spaces within the city centre – to encourage business support, strengthen community and enhance the city centre’s vibrancy.

Wharf Street was trialled as a shared space since 2015, attracting visitors and residents and a number of additional hospitality offerings to the street. Community and Council recognised the cluttered and tired street appearance did not provide the desired inviting and people-friendly space. In September 2019, Council approved the detailed design and the budget to commence the upgrade. 

About Wharf Street

Wharf Street is a key part of how Tauranga’s city centre connects with the waterfront. The street (between Willow Street and The Strand) is approximately 20 metres wide and 100 metres in length, with a one-way traffic flow east-bound for authorised vehicles only.

The City Centre Spatial Framework identifies Wharf Street as a waterfront precinct shared space (along with Spring Street, Harington Street and Hamilton Street) with a focus on supporting a pedestrian-friendly environment and street activity.

Concept design and community feedback

The design for upgrading Wharf Street evolved through community engagement and ongoing discussions with Wharf Street businesses and property owners who support the project. It brings a wharf aesthetic to the street through material and design, in recognition of its historical connection to the wharf and the harbour’s edge.

In 2017, key themes received from the community focused on outdoor dining, a place that is pedestrian-only, with limited vehicle access and that facilitates events.

Wharf Street property and business owners have been engaged and provided input throughout the design process.

Mana whenua informed the cultural elements incorporated into the design. The design has had input from the Positive Ageing Advisory Forum, the Disability Advisory Group, Council’s Spaces and Places, Events, Property, Waters and Transportation teams.  

The design was also reviewed and endorsed by the Technical Advisory Group (TAG).

With detailed design complete, Council approved an estimated construction budget of $5.56m for the upgrade on 10 September 2019.


Last Reviewed: 18/03/2021

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