Making Te Aro Park safer

The Te Aro Park - Assessing Harm report is the result of a collaboration between Wellington City Council Officers and the New Zealand Police.

Aerial view of Te Aro Park.

The number of incidents that have a negative impact on community safety or perceptions of safety occurring within Te Aro Park are comparatively higher than in other central city parks. 

The Te Aro Park - Assessing Harm report is the result of a collaboration between Wellington City Council Officers and the New Zealand Police over the course of 2019/2020 to identify and address safety concerns within Te Aro Park.

The report summarises actions taken to date and further outlines potential solutions for the remaining challenges that exist within the park. 

In order to improve safety within Te Aro Park, the report outlines options which have been categorised into projects for possible implementation over short, medium and long term, many of which are already underway.

Note on the Te Aro Park - Assessing Harm report

September 2020

This report was prepared by a joint working group of staff from Wellington City Council and New Zealand Police to examine safety in and around Te Aro Park. It was initially prepared for internal discussion purposes and has now been prepared for public release. 

Since the draft internal report was first submitted by the working group to Wellington City Council and New Zealand Police leadership, a number of recommended actions have been implemented, issues surrounding the park have gained considerable public attention, and work is continuing between Council, New Zealand Police and partners to implement improvements. 

Actions taken as at March, 2021

  • On 26 March 2021, we announced a public commitment to improve the design and location of the toilets has been made by Council, as part of our contribution to the Social Contract to work together to make the city safer. Read the full news story.
  • A public commitment has also been made to opening up a community base in an empty shop across from the Park to provide a presence for community partners, including social agencies, in the central city.
  • Over the past three months operation Mahi Ngatahi has seen a commitment to increase police foot patrols in the city. This included the deployment of the mobile police base to Te Aro Park. Council CCTV and police have been coordinating very effectively to respond to anti-social behaviour in the park.
  • Te Aro Park was the site for Ngā Toi o Te Aro - the first Kaupapa Māori stage held as a part of CubaDupa in March. Curated by Noel Woods (Te Āti Awa/Ngāti Porou/Ngāruahine), the park was transformed to showcase Māori artists, te reo and tikanga Māori - with 32 acts and 18 hours of programming across two days, the majority in te reo Māori.
  • A blessing was held in November 2020 and a calendar of community events was delivered through December by youth organisation Zeal. A mobile community hub hosts discussions at Swim Suit café and other nearby locations with local residents every Friday about activities happening in the Central City (check for the weekly location and activities ). A range of partners are working on ongoing activations in the park.
  • In February 2021, Inner Wilds, a projection show onto the Wellington Opera House was held as part of the What if the City was a Theatre festival, aimed at bringing the creativity from inside the building to the outside, and activating the precinct around the park.
  • The canopy has been removed and the toilet blocks have been painted. 
  • Businesses were engaged about their perceptions of safety in the park when the report was first prepared. Surrounding businesses are meeting monthly to discuss progress on improving the park and its surrounds - in collaboration with Council, the police and the community.
  • A large tree has been trimmed to improve sightlines for CCTV.
  • Lighting levels have been increased, additional lighting has been installed, and lighting in the area will improve significantly along as LED lighting is replacement is brought forward by Council as part of the Social Contract commitment. 
  • Bike racks located in the park have been painted.
  • Liquor ban signage has been installed.
  • An additional CCTV camera has been installed. 
  • Spark has agreed to remove the Wi-Fi phone booth.
  • Modifications have been made to the Manners Street bus shelter to encourage appropriate use of the area.
  • An additional cleaning regime has been implemented to the park and behind the Manners Street bus shelter.