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Ecology, landscapes & notable trees

We’re working to identify and protect important landscapes and significant natural areas in our beautiful city.

Porirua City is recognised for its coastal environment, iconic landscapes, and areas of significant biodiversity. These collectively give Porirua its identity and contribute to the overall health of Te Awarua-o-Porirua Harbour.

We have worked with ecologists, landscape specialists and landowners to identify these important sites in the Proposed District Plan.

If a property is part of a landscape or significant natural area it may affect what sort of activities and land uses can take place.

We have worked with the community to create a planning framework that allows for people to be able to undertake reasonable maintenance and improvement on their property, while preserving important values.

The loss of indigenous vegetation in Porirua is typical of that seen throughout the country. Porirua was once dominated by kohekohe-tawa forest, with areas of flax and salt marsh. Extensive clearance of this vegetation in the mid and late 1800s for timber and farming, and more recently for expanding urban settlements, has left the city with only scattered remnants of this former cover. 

There has been a history of engagement relating to significant natural areas which dates back to 2001. In 2012, engagement on significant urban vegetation was undertaken.

Since then, Greater Wellington Regional Council has set criteria through the 2013 Regional Policy Statement that we must follow to identify these areas and the species within them. This includes factors such as whether rare or threatened species are present, or whether the areas enhance connectivity between ecosystems for example. 

Wildlands Ecological Consultants undertook a reassessment of sites identified in earlier studies from November 2017 to January 2018. From this there have been 222 potential significant natural areas identified in Porirua and letters have been sent to directly affected landowners.

We conducted a large number of site visits around Porirua between June and December 2019 with our ecologists at the request of landowners. This was important to ensure that the mapping and assessment of these areas is as up to date and accurate as possible. Changes to some of the mapping have been made based on these site visits. You can view identified significant natural areas in our Proposed District Plan.

For more detailed information on this topic, please view the significant natural areas FAQ webpage or the Wildlands (2018) Methodology for the Assessment of Ecological Site Significance in Porirua City

Outstanding natural features are landforms that are defined as exceptional or out of the ordinary. They have a range of qualities that make a place visually appealing, including physical features such as indigenous vegetation, natural watercourses and natural landforms, as well as historic associations with a place.

Special amenity landscapes are highly valued landscapes in areas modified by human activity.

Isthmus were engaged to undertake a review of all of Porirua's landscapes and produced this report: Isthmus (2020) Porirua Landscape Evaluation.

For more detailed information on this topic, please view the landscapes FAQ webpage.

Porirua has a number of notable trees, valued for the historic heritage, ecological and visual values they provide.

There is a standard methodology for evaluating these trees known as STEM or Standard Tree Evaluation Method.

We engaged an arborist to evaluate all council and community nominated trees to see whether they warrant protection in the District Plan. You can view identified notable trees on our Proposed District Plan.