Wellington Scoop

Plan for national heritage park – instead of housing – on Miramar Peninsula

alternative entry Shelly Bay

Report from RNZ
A new development proposal for Shelly Bay would turn the bay and the entire tip of the Miramar Peninsula into the Whataitai National Heritage Park, complete with a cultural centre, forest and seaside walks, an aquarium, and a sculpture park. It is an idea which has been devised by the Motukairangi Design Group.

In the Dominion Post over the weekend, the Design Group said it was the ‘the alternative we’ve all been waiting for’.

The proposal takes inspiration from the UK’s Eden Project and Singapore Bay Gardens. It is also aligned with the city council’s 2040 plan for an eco-city.

But the land is currently set to be the location for a housing development. While it has been given a resource consent by the council, there are still significant stumbling blocks ahead.

“The Motukairangi Design Group proposed Alternative Vision offers some alignment with parts of a Tangata Whenua vision for their whenua,” said Mau Whenua chair Hirini Jenkins-Mepham.

“Iwi land on the peninsula was never intended to be used for luxury, high priced, high density, elite privately owned housing. The whenua and the harbour have huge cultural and heritage significance for iwi members, and we look forward to ongoing kaitiakitanga of our harbour.”
What are the stumbling blocks to the existing development?

The bay, on the Miramar Peninsula, is the location of an approved housing development, headed by Ian Cassels of the Wellington Company.

However, there are two appeals at the High Court which are due to be heard in the next six months. The first, being brought against Wellington City Council, disputes the granting of the resource consent.

The second is an appeal against the original sale of iwi land by the Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust to Cassels.

A report from the Māori Land Court in August found thousands of members did not get a say in the sale of the land, due to failings of the iwi membership system.

The original sale and lease of land, agreed to by Council in 2017, is also coming back for a second vote.

In an update on 4 August, “recommendations will be brought for consideration to Councillors in October 2020, that will include the key commercial terms and approaches to engagement on the road”.

Councillor Malcolm Sparrow has expressed concern about carrying on with the discussion while much remains in the air.

Writing on his Facebook page, Sparrow said: “There are two court cases, where at the very least, the outcome of each, may have a bearing on councillors making a robust decision.

“I believe the councillors should not have to make the sale and lease decision, on Shelly Bay, until we have all the relevant information.”


  1. TrevorH, 16. September 2020, 7:33

    This is a fantastic proposal. A National Heritage Park that celebrates the rich Maori and European history of the area and enhances its outstanding natural beauty, flora and fauna will be a tremendous asset for Wellington and the country as a whole. Surely the Council can come together in support of this?

  2. Kurtis Papple, 16. September 2020, 11:03

    Yes please do this. Houses are going all all the time for people. It’s rare for an opportunity to celebrate the land to come by. Embrace it!

  3. Albert Ross, 16. September 2020, 14:27

    How is it to be paid for?

  4. Roy Murphy, 16. September 2020, 15:15

    This proposal is a much more community-focussed and attractive project than the current problem-plagued, ugly, let’s-make-money one. Furthermore it has the backing of the people who own the land and had it stolen off them by the misuse of legal loopholes. Wellington.Scoop is to be highly praised for its continuing close examination of Wellington City Council procedures and decisions, as well as many other items of concern to Wellingtonians.

  5. Shar, 16. September 2020, 16:11

    What a fantastic idea. Just what Wellington needs.
    We have been waiting for something like this for years. Just think what could happen here. It would be a start to put Wellington on the map again. I say yes to it.

  6. Toni, 16. September 2020, 16:56

    And a yes from me too.

  7. Muscle Car, 16. September 2020, 18:05

    If only it was shovel ready.

  8. Linds, 16. September 2020, 22:16

    Wonderful idea,may it come to fruition.
    The alternative, a housing estate – a huge of waste of this most beautiful area of Wellington.
    Let’s hope it goes ahead, what an amazing gift to our descendants.

  9. Phil mackay, 17. September 2020, 9:47

    Wellington doesn’t have a park problem, it has a housing problem. Keep the tip for a park if need be, but the rest should be used for housing. There is a lot if land there and I doubt anyone would bother much to visit most of it.

  10. Judi, 17. September 2020, 10:09

    Brilliant idea could be a great tourist attraction too. There could be a ferry that comes across from the city. This is the short of thing I would visit often 😀👍

  11. Stuart, 17. September 2020, 16:59

    It should put aside any “human” part. Make it solely on the environment and wildlife … Nature, and only nature! Zero reference to anything human.