Te Rautaki Whanaketanga ki tua a
Wairarapa- Wellington- Horowhenua

Future Development Strategy

The Wairarapa-Wellington-Horowhenua Future Development Strategy (the Strategy) sets out how we plan to deliver well-functioning urban environments in our existing and future towns and cities over the next 30 years. The Strategy proposes where to prioritise housing and business development, as well as investment in infrastructure to support this development. The Strategy guides regional policy development, including Regional and District Plan changes in the future, as well as Land Transport Plans, infrastructure strategies, councils budgets (Long Term Plans) and other policies.

The Future Development Strategy builds on work done previously across the region and will replace the Wellington Regional Growth Framework (WRGF).

A growing region

During the next 30 years the Wairarapa-Wellington-Horowhenua region will grow and change.

The Future Development Strategy will help us plan for:

projected 200,000 more people

projected 99,000 more homes – capacity provided for 206,000 (2023 HBA)

a greater supply of business and industrial land – 2 or 3 times the land area of Seaview/Gracefield

new community services and amenities in accessible locations

upgraded and new infrastructure to meet our current and growing needs

the region becoming more climate and natural hazard resilient.

Our vision for the future

Priorities for development in our region

Where won’t we grow?
Our region experiences various constraints on development and contains areas with precious values that we want to protect. These areas include extensive environmental values and water supply protection areas along the central mountainous spine between the Wairarapa and the rest of the region, and the various natural hazard risks to which the region is subject. More detailed information on all constraints can be found in the Constraints Report and on this page with interactive maps.

Where will grow?
The Future Development Strategy vision includes our being responsible ancestors. It promotes a compact urban form that offers us the best opportunity to create the low-emissions and climate-resilient future our region needs and deliver on the outcomes sought by our strategic direction. To achieve this, the strategy prioritises future development as set out below.

The Future Development Strategy is a picture of where we collectively, as a region, have agreed we want to focus our efforts on housing and business development, including supporting infrastructure, based on the vision, strategic direction, priorities and iwi aspirations outlined in this Future Development Strategy.

While we understand that, currently, housing development outside the areas identified in this Future Development Strategy will happen throughout the region as District Plans allow for it, the Future Development Strategy prioritises areas for development that we can collectively support as a region to achieve our strategic direction. The locations where growth is prioritised can be seen in the diagrams below.

Phase 1
In years 1-10 – we would expect to see 21% of housing development in greenfield land and 79% of housing development in brownfield land.

Phase 2
In years 10-30 – we would expect to see 16% of housing development in greenfield land and 84% of housing development in brownfield land.

Phase 3
In the 30 years of the Future Development Strategy – we would expect to see 18% of housing development in greenfield land and 82% of brownfield land.

The phasing in this Future Development Strategy has been informed by our understanding of district-plan-enabled developments and a review of areas and timing in which the development industry is most likely to invest in housing and mixed-use developments. As expected, there is more certainty that housing development and supporting infrastructure will happen in the first 10 years (Phase 1) than there is happening in a 10- to 30-year (Phase 2) period.

Learn more about our Priority Development Areas here.

Supporting our iwi partners to realise their aspirations

Together with the iwi partners on the WRLC we have created Te Tirohanga Whakamua, a Statement of iwi and hapu values that guides urban development and future work by the WRLC. Whilst this is a joint statement, we recognise iwi and hapu in this region each have their own unique sets of values and aspirations and have built relationships with central and local government authorities that share interests within their rohe.

We also prioritise developments of important to iwi, in order to support them to achieve their development aspirations for the remaining areas of Māori-owned land and in other parts of the region that are important for providing for the well-being of whanau in their rohe. The historical alienation of Māori land in our region and historical grievances have contributed to generally poorer outcomes for Māori, which is why this is our top priority.

How will we make this happen?

Over the next 30 years, infrastructure will need to keep pace with our growing population. Existing infrastructure will need to be maintained and strengthened in areas expecting higher density in-fill housing, and new infrastructure will be needed for new development areas.

In addition to the infrastructure projects identified in Part 3 and Appendix 2 and 4 of the Future Development Strategy, there are a number of projects that will be key to delivering our strategy. These include:

  • Working in partnership with iwi on the implementation of Te Tirohanga Whakamua and other key projects of interest to iwi, such as an iwi spatial plan.
  • Regulatory changes, such as alignment of District and Regional Plans.
  • Financial interventions such as incentives/ disincentives and alignment of infrastructure investment.
  • Research, advocacy and non-statutory responses such as completing the industrial land study and climate adaptation plan as a priority.

An Implementation Plan is currently being prepared and will be available in June 2024. This will set out in more detail what we need to do.

Project Timeline

  • 19 March 2024

    Final FDS Approved

  • June 2024

    Implementation Plan approved and published.

  • May 2025

    New Housing and Business Assessment to commence.

  • Late 2025

    FDS to be reviewed and updated based on new HBA and any other information.

Evidence Reports


Contact us

The Future Strategy Development Team