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
Stage 1 - Development of the Town Belt guiding principles
The Council has been reviewing how the Town Belt is managed. The first stage of the review was to develop and consult on some guiding principles for the management of the Town Belt.
Guiding principles are a way to make sure community wishes and values are reflected in the day-to-day management of reserves.
In 2010, an analysis of the legislative and policy framework for the Town Belt indicated a need for:
- a clearer statement of purpose or guiding principles in the Town Belt Management Plan to help make sure that community aspirations were reflected in the policies and operational practice
- clarity about how the Council's ongoing relationship with mana whenua regarding the Town Belt should be incorporated in the Town Belt Management Plan.
Following workshops, discussions with stakeholders and research, a draft set of guiding principles was developed and released for public consultation in July 2011.
In December 2011, following analysis of submissions, the Council approved an updated set of guiding principles for the Town Belt.
Town Belt Guiding Principles (16KB PDF) | Text version (6KB RTF)
Stage 2 - Review of the Town Belt Management Plan (1995) and the Town Belt Reinstatement Policy (1998)
The opportunity for public comments on the draft management plan closed in December 2012.
News - Response to Town Belt Plan - 22.01.13
The draft plan covers:
- 389.68 hectares held in trust under the Town Belt Deed
- 85.4375 hectares of Wellington City Council reserve and open-space land managed as the Town Belt.
The draft plan replaces the Town Belt Management Plan (1995) and the Town Belt Reinstatement Policy (1998). It provides direction and policies to assist in the management of the Town Belt for the next 10 years.
The draft plan does not cover Wellington Botanic Garden, Wellington Zoo or Wellington Showgrounds (except the artificial sportsfield behind Te Whaea). In addition, it has specific policies to manage the former Chest Hospital on Alexandra Road.
For more details on the draft plan, see:
Draft Town Belt Management Plan (13.2MB PDF) | Text version (744KB RTF)
The Council has used the Town Belt guiding principles for this review.
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.
Recently 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
- The Council will approve the final Bill in September 2014.
- The Bill will be introduced into Parliament.
If you want to be kept informed about this project, email firstname.lastname@example.org 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
Manager Open Space and Recreation Planning