Consultation on the proposed school and fire station for parts of the 27 Hunters and 43 Whero Avenue site has now closed. People were able to provide feedback from 22 January to 19 February 2024.
You will be able to read their feedback and the staff recommendation once an agenda is available for the Te Pātaka o Rākaihautū Banks Peninsula Community Board meeting, which we expect to be in April (tbc).
The block of land, at 27 Hunters Road and 43 Whero Avenue, measures 39.02 hectares. It has been in council ownership since 1913, when it was set aside for the future development and expansion of Diamond Harbour. For the past 40 years it has been zoned for potential residential development.
The land includes three gullies of regenerating native bush, with the rest of the block being leased for grazing. Even so, the annual cost to council in owning and maintaining the land is $15,000.
We received feedback from the community at the end of 2021 on what people wanted the land to be used for. Although there were more than 200 submissions and submitters were passionate about the future of the land, no preferred use was clearly identified. The common thread was that most submitters wanted the gullies to be protected and enhanced to attract native birds and for recreation.
A spatial plan is being developed for the site, taking account of the feedback received. This will go out for feedback when completed.In the meantime, we’ve received two proposals - one for a fire station and one for a school - for use of parts of the block and we’re keen to know what you think. Neither proposal includes the gullies.
Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) has approached us with a proposal to secure 0.5 hectares of the block to develop a new fire station.
The Diamond Harbour Fire Station, at 89 Marine Drive, was assessed in 2017 as being earthquake prone. That assessment showed the building met only 20% to 34% of the building code. It was added to the government’s Register of Earthquake-prone Buildings, and FENZ was notified that the building must be brought up to code or demolished by 24 April 2025.
FENZ is keen to build a new station that meets the needs of a modern brigade. As well as being earthquake prone, FENZ says the Diamond Harbour Volunteer Fire Brigade has outgrown its current site.
Rebuilding on the current site is not feasible and part of our block, not far from the current fire station, has been identified by FENZ as the preferred site.
Under the proposal, the brigade would move to a new station that it would build on the part of the block between 90 Marine Drive and 110 Marine Drive.
The new station would fully comply with the New Building Standards and be an Importance Level 4 fire station. The development would include decontamination facilities, a standby generator, a training room, a PPE locker room and a helipad.
The Diamond Harbour Volunteer Brigade attends about 100 callouts a year, with about 65 of those being for medical emergencies. When needed for emergencies or fire fighting, helicopters currently land on the sports ground or Laurenson Park and a landing zone has to be prepared each time. FENZ says an onsite helipad would be an improvement for the brigade and an advantage for the community.
The trust, acting on behalf of Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke, wants to establish a second campus for the designated character school Te Pā o Rākaihautū (Te Pā), which was established in 2015 on a temporary site in Richmond. It then moved to another temporary site, the former Linwood Intermediate School site in McLean Street, Linwood, where it remains. It has been looking for a permanent site in the city for the past 10 years.
If the proposal is approved, Te Pā would operate over two sites – a city site (yet to be determined) and the Diamond Harbour site.
Designated character schools (in this case a Māori medium school) are state schools that, alongside the national curriculum, develop their own aims and objectives and teach to values that align with their philosophy or culture.
Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke say the Diamond Harbour site holds cultural and historical values that align with their vision for an integrated learning village centred around education, health, wellbeing, culture and the environment.
The school’s website describes Te Pā as having a strong focus on restoring culture, connection and identity; reconnecting with places, communities, histories and traditions; reigniting a passion for learning; and ‘pushing the reset button on Māori educational achievement’.
Place-based learning, centred around the environment and cultural identity, is at the heart of its philosophy. The school has strong ties to Te Pātaka o Rakaihautu Banks Peninsula and its five rūnanga communities at Rāpaki, Koukourarata, Ōnuku, Wairewa and Taumutu.
Under the proposal, Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke would own the land, and lease part or all of it to the Ministry of Education.
In 2021 we received a clear message from the community that there’s a strong desire for the three gullies within the block’s boundaries to be protected. People want these areas protected and enhanced, with native trees and plants that will attract native wildlife, such as birds and lizards. They also called for walking tracks so that people can easily access the gullies for their enjoyment. We will recommend this to the Council when we report back to them regarding the two proposals we’ve received. Ultimately, it is the mayor and councillors who will decide the future of this land.
In community feedback we received in 2021, several land-use ideas were suggested. We’re considering the following suggestions as we develop our spatial plan for the block of land (listed in no particular order):
If part of the block is used for residential development, some in the community asked that housing suitable for ageing in place – smaller, accessible units – be included.
Some people suggested that part of the land could be planted in trees for offsetting carbon emissions.
Parks and reserves
There was some desire for a small park or play area.
Cemeteries in Diamond Harbour area are reaching capacity there will be a future need for a new cemetery. There’s a lot to consider in choosing the location for a cemetery, and we’re continuing to investigate the suitability of this land. If part of the block is identified for potential use as a cemetery, the community will be able to provide feedback.
When the period for public feedback closes on 19 February 2024, we'll analyse all the feedback recieved.
The Community Board will consider all feedback and the staff recommendation, when making their own recommendation to Council. All submitters have the opportunity to speak at the Te Pātaka o Rākaihautū Banks Peninsula Community Board meeting.
The Council will decide whether to support conditional sale agreements for parts of the block for the proposed fire station and school.
The final decision, whether to support the FENZ and/or Nōku Te Ao Charitable Trust proposals will be made by the Council.