Key topics and supporting information

The District Plan is the rulebook for how land can be used. It applies to every property in the city, and provides the blueprint for how Porirua will grow. It also sets out how we will look after the things in our city that we value.

Porirua’s current District Plan became operative in 1999, and our community and the challenges that we face today are very different to those in 1999. These include the continuing pressure to grow and develop, the need to restore the health of the Te Awarua-o-Porirua Harbour and the opening of Transmission Gully. In response to these and other challenges, Council developed the Proposed District Plan.

Variation 1 and Plan Change 19

Council publicly notified Variation 1 and Plan Change 19 on 11 August 2022. These proposed changes are to meet Council’s obligations to enable housing intensification under the Resource Management (Enabling Housing Supply and Other Matters) Amendment Act.

We are also proposing to rezone land in the Northern Growth Area near Pukerua Bay for urban development.

Supporting information for Variation 1 and Plan Change 19 is set out below by topic:

Key topics and supporting information published in 2020 for Proposed District Plan


The Proposed District Plan (PDP) aims to enable economic and residential growth while protecting the things that make Porirua special. The plan is grouped into the following topics:

  • Tangata Whenua
  • Housing
  • Rural Environment
  • Business and Employment
  • Open Space and Recreation
  • Special Purpose Zones
  • Energy, Infrastructure and Transport
  • Hazard and Risks
  • Historical and Cultural Values
  • Natural and Environmental Values
  • Subdivision and District Wide Matters 

Tangata Whenua

Ngāti Toa’s values, rights and interests are interwoven throughout the PDP. The Tangata Whenua strategic objectives provide overall direction.

The PDP specifically enables development in the Hongoeka Zone, Takapūwāhia, as well as papakāinga housing throughout the City.


The PDP provides more housing supply to meet forecasted demand, and deliver the capacity required by national regulations.

Housing is provided for in greater variety to meet the changing needs of communities and future generations including through:

  • a revamped General Residential Zone that will also enable more density through multi-unit housing and more enabling provisions, including greater building coverage, more permissive bulk and location controls and more flexible outdoor living space options; and
  • a new Medium Density Residential Zone to enable multi-unit and terraced housing up to three storeys high.

Multi-unit housing will be subject to design guide assessment to ensure good urban design outcomes.

Notably, the Eastern Porirua Regeneration Project will deliver an increased supply of housing and increased options within the City’s existing urban footprint.

In addition to intensification of existing urban areas, there is a need for developable greenfield land to meet long term housing and business needs. Therefore the PDP contains:

  • a new Future Urban Zone, including the Northern Growth Area and Judgeford Hills for housing, and Judgeford flats for business land.

These greenfield areas will be structure planned to ensure they deliver desired outcomes for the City. Rules are proposed to ensure future urban development is not compromised in these areas e.g. preventing rural lifestyle development.

To help meet an immediate need for greenfield housing land, the Plimmerton Farms development was the first to be structure planned, and has been prioritised as Plan Change 18 to the Operative District Plan.

Rural Environment

The PDP splits the existing Rural Zone into three zones:

  • a revamped Rural Zone that aims to maintain rural character and enable rural activities and buildings;
  • a new Rural Lifestyle Zone, which enables rural lifestyle subdivision and development; and
  • a new Settlement Zone for Pāuatahanui Village that aims to maintain Village character, while accommodating small-scale business and residential activity.

The areas identified as being suitable for the Rural Lifestyle Zone are based on a thorough assessment of relevant criteria.

See the FAQ page for information on rural subdivision and minimum lot sizes.

Business and Employment

The PDP supports the City’s hierarchy of commercial centres and the role they play in serving the City’s communities. This includes established commercial and industrial centres within the City, ranging from large shopping centres to small clusters of shops.

The PDP aims to protect Porirua’s existing business land resource, and provide additional land in the right areas in order to meet demand. Existing industrial land is protected as it is a valuable employment and revenue generating resource.

It introduces a new Mixed-Use Zone which enables commercial, residential and other uses to co-exist.

The PDP restricts where retail and office activities can locate in other parts of the District outside these centres, so that ‘out of zone’ activities do not undermine the significant investment in these business areas.

Open Space and Recreation

The PDP aims to support a wide range of passive and active recreational and community activities on open space through the Open Space Zone (OSZ) and the Sport and Active Recreation Zone (SARZ).

The Open Space Zone has been updated to better enable maintenance and improvement of public open space.

The Sport and Active Recreation Zone provides for indoor and outdoor active recreation and sports activities and facilities, including large scale buildings and structures. The intent of the Zone is the same but updated to better enable maintenance and improvement of facilities.

Special purpose zones

The PDP specifically provides for two regionally and nationally significant facilities, the Kenepuru Hospital and the Building Research Association of New Zealand (BRANZ).

Provide appropriate zoning for these sites which recognises their unique requirements, characteristics and features that differentiate them from other/surrounding zones, including specifically providing for:

  • Research activities within the BRANZ Special Purpose Zone; and
  • Hospital and healthcare facilities within the Hospital Zone. 

Energy, Infrastructure and Transport

The PDP is enabling of infrastructure whist managing the effects of infrastructure on the environment. It aims to protect the ability of infrastructure to operate.

The Three Waters Chapter ensures that where there is insufficient capacity in three waters networks, new development needs to appropriately mitigate potential effects. New development in residential and commercial zones must not increase stormwater runoff ( the principle of ‘hydraulic neutrality’)

The Transport Chapter is enabling of multi-modal transport opportunities, and encourages active transport and manages traffic generation through policies and rules. There are no minimum parking requirements for any activities in any zones in accordance with the recent National Policy Statement for Urban Development 2020.

The Renewable Electricity Generation Chapter recognises the benefits of use and development of renewables, and provides for the establishment and operation of these activities.

Hazards and risks

The PDP aims to ensure there is no increased risk to peoples’ lives and property from natural hazards. It takes a risk-based approach to planning for natural hazards, which involves assessing the likelihood of natural hazards in different locations and the sensitivity of activities.  

The Natural Hazard Chapter addresses flooding and fault rupture, whilst the Coastal Environment Chapter addresses coastal erosion, coastal inundation and tsunami.

Extensive community engagement has been undertaken to identify and define hazard risk.

The Hazardous Substances Chapter and Contaminated Land Chapter manage these risks in the City.

Historical and cultural values

The PDP includes chapters on historic heritage, notable trees and sites and areas of significance to Māori.

The PDP aims to recognise and protect these places and their values. The rules and standards allow for some works and improvements with other works more tightly controlled to minimise the effects of activities on identified sites. Activities which could result in damage or loss are to be avoided. 

Natural environmental values

The PDP aims to protect Porirua’s natural environmental values including ecosystems and indigenous biodiversity, natural character, natural features and landscapes and public access.

The rules allow for people to undertake maintenance and improvements to their properties although  important values must be preserved.

The mapping of important landscapes (Outstanding Natural Features and Landscapes and Special Amenity Landscapes) and Significant Natural Areas has involved extensive public and landowner consultation.

Subdivision and District-wide matters

District-wide matters are common across zones. They either have the same rule/threshold across the entire City, or apply in each zone but with a different standard/threshold.

Subdivision is the process of dividing a site or building into one or more additional sites or units or changing the location of an existing boundary. The Subdivision Chapter contains requirements for this process that vary depending on the underlying zoning.