Dixon Street and Te Aro Park design improvements

We’re making urban design improvements to Dixon Street and Te Aro Park to increase safety and vibrancy of the area through the Pōneke Promise.

About the project

This project is a key outcome of the Pōneke Promise – our joint commitment to improving safety and vibrancy in the central city.

Te Aro Park, Courtenay Place and the surrounding areas were looking and feeling unsafe, and so through the Pōneke Promise we set out on a mission to address this. Improving public spaces is a key part of the programme to revitalise the area and bring the buzz back. 

Stage one: Dixon Street 

Stage one of the urban design work involved transitionary changes to Dixon Street which are now complete. You can read more about the completed upgrade over on our news channel. 

Work included:

  • Widening the footpath along the northern side of Dixon Street with wooden decking. This will visually and physically connect Te Aro park with the wider area and provide better sightlines to and from the park.
  • Installing planters alongside the decking which will help slow down the traffic, create clear boundaries between the street and pedestrian space and improve the look and feel of the space. 
  • Removing some carparks to create ‘parklets’ which will support businesses to utilise outdoor dining space.

Stage two: Te Aro Park 

This part of the project involves urban design changes to the western edge of Te Aro Park, including the removal of the toilets in late 2022.

Toilet removal 

The current design and location of the toilets has been causing problems for some time. Not only is the position of the toilets culturally inappropriate on the former site of Te Aro Pā, but the design itself is secluded and blocks important sightlines into the park – creating the perfect environment for anti-social behaviour. Removing the toilets is a big milestone for the Pōneke Promise and is an important step towards making our central city safer for all.

We’ll be building some new toilets over the road in Inglewood Place, to replace the Te Aro Park provision. The new facility will be designed with CPTED principles in mind to ensure the same problems don't just transfer to the new location and urban design changes will happen at the same time to improve the overall look and feel of Inglewood Place. 

Work on the Inglewood Place toilets cannot start until late 2023, due to Wellington Water being on site with their pump station work, however we'll be erecting some temporary toilets in Victoria Street to bridge the gap once the Te Aro park toilets are initially removed. 

Urban design improvements

Once the toilets are gone, the empty space remaining will undergo urban design improvements to help bring the area back to life. There is an opportunity to enhance the vibrancy and restore the former mana of the park through urban design changes that reflect the rich history and stories of the pā site and the waters of Waimapihi that flow beneath it. We’re currently working with mana whenua in a co-design process to determine exactly what these urban design improvements will look like.

We'll be consulting with the wider community on a proposed design in 2023. 

Crime Prevention through Environmental Design 

It’s about more than just improving the look and feel. At the core of this project is what we call CPTED, Crime Prevention through Environmental Design Principals. There are some unique challenges in the area including the lack of visibility into the park past the parked cars, blind spots, narrow footpaths and lack of activation.

The new design for Dixon Street addresses these issues by creating better sightlines to and from the park, slowing the traffic, and providing more pedestrian and outdoor dining space.

Read about the wider work happening in Te Aro area as part of the Pōneke Promise:

What's on the go in Te Aro: Urban design and safety improvements (240KB PDF)


This project came about through the Pōneke Promise in response to safety issues identified in the Te Aro Park – Assessing Harm report. You can find this report, and more about the initiative, on our Pōneke Promise page.

More information

Charlotta Heyd 
Project Manger Pōneke Promise Urban Regeneration and Design 
Email: poneke.promise@wcc.govt.nz