Town Belt Legislative & Policy Review

Aerial view of the city looking south.

Aerial view of the city looking south


The Wellington Town Belt is a large area of open space providing a scenic backdrop to the inner city and offering recreational opportunities to residents and visitors.

Today it includes nearly 400 hectares stretching in a horseshoe shape from Mount Victoria / Matairangi in the north-east, to Berhampore at its southern end, then north-west to Te Ahumairangi Hill between Wadestown and Thorndon.

For over 170 years the Town Belt has been a reserve for the public to enjoy.

Key features include:

  • parks, reserves and vegetated slopes visible from the central city
  • the continuous horse-shoe shape of undeveloped hills between the central city and surrounding suburbs
  • a wide range of sporting and recreational activities.

How the Town Belt is currently managed

The Town Belt is held in Trust by Wellington City Council, under the Town Belt Deed 1873. The Town Belt is also a reserve under the Reserves Act 1977 and managed as a recreation reserve.

In 2013, the Council adopted the current Wellington Town Belt Management Plan.

Wellington Town Belt Management Plan

The Council has used the Town Belt guiding principles for this review.

The final Wellington Town Belt Management Plan was adopted by the Council on 27 June 2013.

In line with the terms of the Town Belt Deed, the Town Belt will continue to be used as a public recreation ground for the people of Wellington.

Stage 3 - Legislative change - the Wellington Town Belt Bill

We propose to strengthen the protection of the Town Belt. To do this, we have drafted a local Parliamentary Bill called the Wellington Town Belt Bill.

The Bill will help to modernise the governance arrangements for the Town Belt under the Town Belt Deed, and would allow land to be added and, in some cases, removed from the Town Belt.

We sought public comments on drafting instructions outlining what the local Parliamentary Bill would look like and aim to achieve. These were approved in 2013.

What will not change?

  • The proposed Bill replaces the provisions of the Reserves Act 1977, meaning the Town Belt will no longer be a recreation reserve under that Act. Some existing local statutes are also repealed.
  • Future management plans will be prepared under a process contained within the proposed Bill.

What are the key things the Bill does?

  • With the Town Belt Deed, it establishes a legal framework for the Council's trusteeship and management of the Town Belt that is self-contained (does not rely on the Reserves Act 1977) and easily understood.
  • It is consistent with the Town Belt guiding principles adopted by the Council in December 2011.
  • It recognises the history and significance of the Original Town Belt.
  • It provides the Council with powers to manage the Town Belt, provided that it does so in a way that is consistent with both the charitable purpose of the Town Belt Deed and the management plan in force at the time.

Public consultation on the draft Bill

The draft Bill was publicly consulted on in April/May 2014:

Brochure including Maps and Draft Bill (2.8MB PDF) | View maps online

Closed Consultations - Draft Wellington Town Belt Bill

Council approval of draft Bill

The final Wellington Town Belt Bill was approved by the Council on Tuesday 30 September 2014. The final Bill contains changes as a result of submissions received.

WellingtonTown Belt Bill - approved by Council (229KB PDF)

Next steps

  • The Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives has been consulted. This requires the Council to amend parts of the Bill. One this is completed, the Bill will be introduced into Parliament in March or April 2015.
  • The Bill will then proceed through the normal process for a Parliamentary Bill, which will include Select Committee hearings.
News - Unanimous Vote Sends Town Belt Bill to Next Stage - 03.10.14

Project updates

If you want to be kept informed about this project, email with these details:

  • your name
  • email address
  • whether you're representing an organisation and if so, which one.

You can also check the Council Facebook page for updates on the project:

Wellington City Council Facebook

History of the Town Belt

For information about the history of the Town Belt, refer to:

History of Town and Green Belts

Chapter 6 - The Town Belt and Other Public Reserves:

Report on the Wellington District - Waitangi Tribunal

More information

Mike Oates
Manager Open Space and Recreation Planning

Phone: (04) 499 4444