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Growth in the Hills

Napier is growing. While there's some space in existing neighbourhoods, we need to extend our urban boundaries to meet demand. We call this 'greenfield growth'. Napier needs to provide for another 2,500 houses over the next 10 years.

Read The GreenField Growth Capacity Review  Read the Greenfield Growth High Level Structure Plans

Download this discussion document  smart growthResilient Napier

Napier is growing. While there’s some space in existing neighbourhoods, we also need to extend our urban boundaries to meet demand. We call this ‘greenfield growth’. Napier needs to provide for another 2,500 houses over the next 10 years.


For a number of reasons, we can’t continue to rely on Napier’s flat land for greenfield growth. That’s because:More hills Greenhills growth

  • it is subject to natural hazards such as flooding and tsunami inundation. Continuing to build on the flat becomes costly when we need to find solutions to reduce risk to people, property and infrastructure;
  • the soil of the Heretaunga Plains is high quality and better used to grow food and crops for the benefit of our communities and economy.

Growth in the hills will reduce the challenges we face with development on flat land. With any future greenfields growth, we can ensure a quality design that celebrates landscape, cultural and environmental values through thoughtful planting and stormwater management, and the integration of publicly accessible walking tracks.

Moving forward

The Mission Residential Precinct, which will provide for around 550 homes, is one step in the process of shifting Napier’s growth to the hills. And now we have an opportunity, through the District Plan Review, to signal where additional future urban growth in the hills may be appropriate. This is only the first step in the process and we would need to eventually rezone suitable land.  This would occur at a later stage and only following detailed planning and opportunities for community consultation.

A report we commissioned from WSP-Opus identified opportunities and constraints for residential development in the western hills: Taradale Hills, Tironui Drive and surrounds, and Poraiti.

The Esk Hills were not assessed due to their high cultural value, significant natural areas, and because they are relatively remote from key amenities in the city centre and Taradale. 

Tarardale Map

Taradale Hills

The report identified that land in the northern area of Taradale Hills is potentially suitable for residential scale development on the gentler slopes. There is space for between 300 and 600 homes in this area.

The land in the southern area is generally steeper and more remote from Council infrastructure. It may be suitable for larger sections of around 2000 to 5000m² with onsite water storage and wastewater treatment and discharge, in which case there would be space for between 50 and 150 houses.

Taradale Map 

Tironui Map

Tironui Drive and surrounds

Land adjacent to Tironui Drive - and its potential extension – may also be suitable for residential scale development. We could fit between 500 and 900 houses in this area.

The area behind the future Mission Residential Precinct has some steeper slopes and stormwater management challenges, but it may be possible to build on the gentler slopes, if infrastructure challenges can be resolved. We could fit between 300 and 550 homes here.

Tironui Map


Initially, Poraiti was identified as potentially suitable for infill development based on its topography and potential connections into the infrastructure and transport network. However, as this is an established rural residential community and the land is highly fragmented, Council is not proposing to pursue further investigations in this area right now.

You can read more on the situation and our initial assessment in the full WSP-Opus report, Greenfield Growth in the Hills Capacity Review – January 2020, which is available on our website. 

The study investigated, at a very high level, the potential for growth in the Taradale Hills, Tironui Drive and surrounds, and Poraiti areas taking into account:

  • topography: how to develop on slopes of varying steepness;
  • fragmentation: the number and distribution of existing sites;
  • infrastructure: the ability to connect to the existing Council network, or to provide for local community-based solutions;
  • transport: how easy it would be to reach current retail and community services via the transport network;
  • natural hazards: including slope stability;
  • heritage and cultural values: including landscape values and sites of significance to Māori;
  • natural and environmental values: including significant natural areas and wetlands;
  • electricity transmission network: making sure development would be set back from the Transpower transmission lines;
  • community and social infrastructure: how we could provide schools, parks and other facilities for new residential communities;
  • planning framework: consideration of the existing Regional Policy Statement - which falls under the Resource Management Act - and other planning documents.

If you’re a landowner whose property falls within the Taradale Hills or Tironui Drive and surrounds structure plan areas, we’d like feedback on:

  • Whether the WSP-Opus report and its recommendations are accurate;
  • Whether you consider your land suitable for residential development in the future;
  • Whether or not you’re interested in pursuing residential development opportunities on your land.

A high-level preliminary structure plan process is scheduled for 2020 for each of the study areas. This process further investigates the technical feasibility of any development, including:

  • how the areas could be serviced and where roads could be built;
  • where ecological, recreational, landscape and heritage features should be protected and linkages between them provided;
  • where social and community facilities could be located.

Landowner feedback, coupled with the outcome of the structure plan, helps us consider the costs and benefits of any residential development.

The wider community will be invited to provide feedback on the potential for development in the hills as part of the draft District Plan engagement process (scheduled for November 2020 – February 2021).

Both landowner and community feedback, as well as the structure plan analysis, will inform future Council decisions on planning Napier’s growth. 

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