News | 29 November 2023
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Plan to revitalise Courtenay Place released

Wellington City Councillors have been briefed on a plan to breathe new life into the Courtenay Place precinct.

Landscape of Courtenay Place Lightbox Exhibition with St James in the background
Ben Lowe exhibition in Courtenay Place lightboxes

The Courtenay Place Precinct Plan sets out a vision and a clear pathway forward to revitalise the area as Wellington’s ‘premier place to play’. The plan has been a collaboration with businesses and residents.

Courtenay Place Precinct Plan (8MB PDF)

Mayor Tory Whanau says the area holds a unique place in our city, and revitalising it was one of her top priorities as Mayor.

“There is a lot of agreement on what people want for the area – to be busy and vibrant day and night, offering a great experience for families, students, professionals and business owners as well as people enjoying a night out. We want a colourful, creative destination that attracts residents, tourists and investment into the area.

“I am highly motivated to work alongside hospitality businesses so their needs are incorporated into the overall redevelopment of the Courtenay Place precinct. Their views, alongside those of the general business community and the police will play a big part in the plan’s continued evolution.

“The plan outlines some big initiatives that will be a game changer for the area, like the redevelopment of Reading Cinemas. But also, shorter-term projects like additional cleaning, introducing festoon lighting to side streets and night-time safety support. These projects will have an immediate effect, making Courtenay Place brighter, cleaner, safer and more attractive.”

Local business owner Mike Egan says a lot of businesses are very loyal to the precinct, having been there for more than a decade.

“We’re committed to Courtenay Place and want to see it revived into a magnet for people. It should be the city’s living room, somewhere everyone feels like they belong. It’s clear Courtenay Place needs some love.”

Courtenay Place has a strong history as a gathering place, as home to Te Aro Pā and then developed into Pōneke’s leading hospitality and entertainment district. However, perceptions of the area have fallen in recent years, with an acknowledged experience, safety and investment issue.

Man water blasting walls.
Community cleans up Courtenay Place

Kōrau Mātinitini | Social, Cultural, and Economic Committee chair Councillor Teri O’Neil says work to revitalise the precinct is already well underway with Tākina bringing more than 200,000 visitors into the area per year, and the recently refurbished St James putting on events weekly – but more needs to be done.

“Collaboration and open dialogue with the community are key to revitalising and making Pōneke a safe place to play and stay, but most importantly, to be proud of.

“We know we can make a difference, as this plan builds on the foundations that have already seen significant improvements in the area – but there is still more to do.”

Partnering with local businesses, Pōneke Promise partners, and working across Council, the Courtenay Place Precinct Plan will make immediate improvements to the area such as creative lighting, pop-ups, and a second Take 10 site.

In the longer term, Council will work with local developers, iwi and the private sector to attract investment that strengthens Courtenay Place’s offering as a destination and a neighbourhood.

The Pōneke Promise

The reinvigoration of Courtenay Place is part of the Pōneke Promise, our joint commitment to safety in the central city. Safety and vibrancy are intrinsically linked, and by enhancing the vibrancy of our city, we can in turn drive positive outcomes our community are seeking.

Launched in 2021, the Pōneke Promise partnership has been committed to making our central city safe, vibrant and welcoming.

Over the last two years, the programme has delivered a suite of initiatives in the area, including the Dixon Street urban design upgrades, opening two new community spaces Te Wāhi Āwhina and Te Pokapū Hapori, and the development of the Sexual Violence Prevention Action Plan working with student associations, young women and sexual violence specialists.

The Pōneke Promise is a partnership between Wellington City Council, Greater Wellington Regional Council, Taranaki Whānui, Hospitality NZ, First Retail, NZ Police, Wellington Chamber of Commerce, Wellington City Mission, DCM, Ministry of Social Development, Victoria University of Wellington, By sharing information and working closely together to develop and deliver solutions, we’re able to effectively work towards the same goal; we want Wellington to feel safe, vibrant and welcoming for everyone.

The Pōneke Promise has made good progress but recognise there is further collaboration needed to drive action, investment and engagement.