Te Tumu Growth Area and Wairakei Town Centre

When called on to shape the development of one of New Zealand’s fastest growing cities, RPS knew that success would hinge on an ideal balance struck between culture, lifestyle and the environment. 


Already the city’s largest suburb, the population of the Wairakei and Te Tumu study areas (commonly referred to as ‘Papamoa East’) on Tauranga’s coastal fringe is expected to grow significantly over the next 40 years, reaching up to 30,000 people by 2060. 

A place of great historic and cultural wealth, both for tangata whenua and European settlers who have lived and worked on the land since the 1800s, the vision is for Te Tumu to be a coastal community that celebrates the richness of its history and environment, while providing new housing and associated community facilities for more than 15,000 people.  The Wairakei town centre (Golden Sands) and employment area will accommodate employment uses as well as the town core and frame.

Together, the proposed developments will offer connection to the Kaituna River and preserve natural character while facilitating strategic growth around employment precincts, schools, sports fields, walkways and cycleways.

Te Tumu plans drawing


RPS was engaged to prepare an initial Density Study for Papamoa East, along with a Town Centre and Employment Area Framework Plan and Structure Plan for Te Tumu.

Drawing on a wealth of experience providing strategic advice to planning authorities and new community developers, RPS completed a detailed research exercise for the existing Papamoa East development area. This research has informed our advice to Council on town centre and employment outcomes and the most effective land use, housing and density configurations to cater for the anticipated population growth.

Development scenarios were tested and recommendations on optimum residential density and yield were established. These recommendations allow for flexible development phasing in alignment with market fluctuation and will ensure infrastructure provision and non-residential uses can be effectively implemented as the community grows over time.  All studies were undertaken in a collaborative workshop or consultative forum to aid efficient and transparent development of the Te Tumu and Wairakei Density Study. 

With economic insights on hand to guide them, our design team then began working with Papamoa East’s three delivery partners –Tauranga City Council, Bluehaven Management, and the Te Tumu Kaituna 14 Trust to develop a workable, balanced urban framework plan for the town centre area. Recognising that each partner has a unique vision for the region’s growth and character, our team facilitated a series of collaborative urban design workshops and charrettes that brought stakeholders together to address and develop a common, agreed plan. As a result of this work, The Wairakei / Te Tumu Framework Plan for the Golden Sands Town Centre and Employment Precincts was produced and adopted in 2017.   

The team is now completing detailed concept testing to determine project sequencing and the functional relationships between the new residential development areas, transport infrastructure, employment precincts planned for the area. 

Project statistics

Hectare Te Tumu site area
people to be accommodated in the completed community
Dwellings planned to align with future growth and density projections

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