Settlement Patterns


The places people call home are both urban and rural.  The population is increasing. Shape Tairawhiti gives us the opportunity to create new and improved places to live, and think about the kind of housing our communities will need in the future.

 The evidence - what do we already know?

Urban settlement

» Gisborne city is a medium growth area. The population is set to increase by over 4000 in the next 30 years.

» Housing in Gisborne is becoming less affordable. Both rents and house prices are increasing.

» Median house prices rose by $44,000 during 2018 to $390,000 in February 2019 up more than 25% on the same time last year.

» There are currently around 355 hectares of vacant land zoned as General Residential (62%), the majority of it located in Tokomaru Bay - Ruatoria - East Cape.
» Anecdotally, the supply of land available for residential development in Gisborne is not keeping up with demand. However, about 280ha of land zoned for residential use in the city has not yet been developed.

» An increasing share of people will live in single-person households. Currently, there are 17,360 households in the region with the average household size being 2.76 people. By 2048, this is expected to decrease to 2.67 persons per household.

» Our CBD has an area of 82ha – this is large for our population » A combination of big-box shopping and growth in online retail is challenging the traditional role and function of our CBD. There has also been a movement of small businesses away from the CBD out to the surrounding suburbs.

 sterling park



house prices


Rural settlements

» For rural townships there are challenges are around having:

       > safe and reliable roading

       > a safe, affordable and reliable supply of drinking water

       > sustainable and clean wastewater management.

» Our townships continue to face the prospect of population decline. Council will be challenged in providing and improving infrastructure and community assets in our rural areas.

» Supporting these rural communities is important for social outcomes, for maintaining the region’s competitive advantage in primary industries; and for the continuation of communities connected to traditional rohe.

» Population projections suggest that people will slowly move away from our rural townships.

» There are 9 rural transfer stations for waste management

» There is one landfill at Waiapu servicing the northern half of the region. This landfill is nearing the end of its consented life.


The challenges and opportunities

Challenges - if we do nothing

 » Unmanaged development may occur in areas that are subject to increased risk from climate change and other natural hazards.

» There is likely to be a mismatch between the areas where the household growth is expected (Te Hapara, Mangapapa and Whataupoko) and where the majority of vacant residential land is located.

» A continuing shortage of housing supply will constrain economic growth and challenge affordability and home ownership rates.

» Shops continue to move away from Gisborne’s CBD as the retail landscape decentralises.

» Continual slow decline in population and prosperity of rural townships. Council finds it harder to maintain supporting infrastructure and services to these locations. 

» However, there is an increase in visitor numbers that we need to cater for in townships.


 » Review of housing supply in Gisborne.

» A revitalisation masterplan for Gisborne’s CBD.

» Alignment of township planning with regional spatial planning.

» Invest in township enhancement projects to support township development.

» Explore infrastructure, zoning, investment and other requirements to help establish a key regional service hub for the East Coast.

» Improve condition of state highway to optimise transport connectivity along the East Coast.

» Promote an East Coast journey that expands upon the Tairāwhiti Navigations Programme to boost regional tourism. This includes enhancing key destinations, township development, signage and other design elements to form a coherent regional experience that will enhance the visitor experience and increase visitor numbers. 


The questions

» Where should future residential and industrial development be located?

» How do we make better use of our town centre?

» Should we have less cars in our CBD?

» Do we need to make the CBD:

        > more compact?

        > mixed use?

» How can we future proof our settlements?   

» How to balance the need of the rural economy for protecting the high quality soils, with the need of households for more dwellings, and businesses for more commercial/industrial/retail space as the economy grows?

» How do we support the growth and development of our rural townships?


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Latest Submission
Plan to patch up the holes in the fibre network. There are still spots within the Gisborne urban area that only have access to (the most expensive) copper wire internet service. This is because the fibre network hasn't been installed to service the area, and there is little-to-no mobile coverage - which prevents wireless internet service.

If you live in one of these areas (like outer Kaiti) you dont even have the option of signing up to the 'deals' being offered by Spark etc because those deals only apply where fibre is available. You are also forced to pay for a landline - because mobile coverage is so unreliable.

This is an issue of inequality. If you cant afford to pay a premium for this service - your access to online information, programming and learning/study opportunities is limited. You also miss out on the security of reliable mobile communication. Isolated pockets of infrastructure- related deprivation definitely need to be addressed.
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