Aokautere gets green light for urban growth

Published on 07 June 2024

Aerial view of the reserve with grassy fields either side of a gully lined by native bush and a walkway running through it.

Independent commissioners have given the green light to rezoning 454 hectares of land in Aokautere from rural to residential. 

The plan change will enable up to 1,000 new homes to be built, along with a neighbourhood centre to provide shops and other amenities within walking distance. The structure plan is also designed to ensure protection of the ecologically important gully network that runs through the area, a measure that was strongly reinforced by numerous community submissions.

Issues looked into by the commissioners included possible effects on indigenous biodiversity, stormwater management, consideration for the natural character and geographical layout of the land and how increased traffic should be managed.

They also considered whether there will be enough green space and recreation facilities for new residents and whether a local retirement village will be needed in future.

The acceptance of the plan change is exciting for the city as it will give more people access to housing, says David Murphy, Palmerston North City Council's Chief Planning Officer.

A structure plan has been prepared to guide future development. This will help provide the community with greater certainty on the expected outcomes at Aokautere, he says.

“The plan aims to make sure that future development is a good fit for the area and provides positive outcomes for both residents and the environment.

“The area will allow for a range of housing types to be built to accommodate different needs, with a layout designed to give residents a pleasant, walkable neighbourhood, centred around a local village centre. It includes lots of green spaces for people to enjoy and transport options like bus routes and cycleways.

“There is still a lot of work to do in terms of planning and installing supporting infrastructure before additional housing can start to be built. The physical works are currently planned to begin in the third year of our long-term plan, which means it will be 2026 before any groundwork begins, though a small amount of development by private developers may be able to go ahead if supporting infrastructure is put in place.”

Submitters have until Thursday 18 July to consider an appeal to the Environment Court. If appeals are received, then further amendments to the decision may be made to the plan change through mediation or the Environment Court.

For more information on Plan Change G: Aokautere Urban Growth, go to