Wellington Scoop

Diversity as well as height

by Conor Hill
In light of the debate around allowing buildings up to 6 storeys high in some areas of Wellington, it’s worth looking at developments in the only part of suburban Wellington where you can currently build up to (and above) this height.

Adelaide Road.

From what is planned here, it’s clear that allowing for more homes in mid-rise buildings will bring out a particularly Wellington mix of interesting and varied places for our city’s people to live, and fixes for our housing shortage.

I’m aware of three medium density developments planned in this area. Collectively they are a fantastic mix of homes for different Wellingtonians, from our most vulnerable, to first home buyers, to people interested in new forms of communal living.

The first is a Wellington City Mission development. This 5 storey high community hub will have 35 supported transitional living units as well as wrap-around support for some of Wellington’s most vulnerable.

The second is a 6 storey mixed-use development. Some of the ground floor is commercial, and many of the 93 homes will be Kiwibuild apartments.

The third is a beautiful co-housing development built for 24 different households. The households will range from young to old, and include families and retirees. The development is on a quarter acre. It’s the classic kiwi dream, reimagined for the 21st century.

We have the opportunity to make it easier to build these kinds of homes in more parts of Wellington, for more people, in the form of our Spatial Plan. The proposals in the draft go some way towards making it easier for NGOs, co-housers, government, and yes, even developers, to build in a wider range of the city.

If you want an insight into how this would shape Wellington, Adelaide Road is it – housing as diverse as our city, that makes our communities richer. It will make a dent in some of our housing issues. It’s why I support the proposals in Wellington’s draft spatial plan.


  1. Jeff, 1. October 2020, 10:33

    Build more high density housing in Newtown and Berhampore, says Conor, a concerned Wadestown resident.

  2. Claire, 1. October 2020, 10:54

    Now things are making sense, Conor. Adelaide Road is the perfect place for at least ten six storey blocks. I asked councillors about this and they said it’s private land. Well so is the land with old cottages in Newtown and Mt Victoria etc. The Govt can help to acquire some of those sites in Adelaide Road. The council has been asked to develop this area for decades. This is not actually about old houses. It’s about long delays in action. How many times do people have to say it. Get on with Adelaide Road council and Govt.

  3. Conor, 1. October 2020, 12:01

    Would love to see Wadestown get up zoned too Jeff. Said as much in my submission, but wasn’t going to go that granular for a blog post which is largely suggesting the city should allow more homes everywhere.

    You know why we live here? Our home is cheaper than it would be if it was in Newtown.

  4. Claire, 1. October 2020, 12:06

    You must be in the Wilton end. Wadestown’s average house price is $984,000. Newtown is $834,000. Don’t think I will be downsizing to Wadestown, one of the most expensive suburbs in Wellington.

  5. Toni, 1. October 2020, 12:07

    Conor, I live in the inner city and I am not apposed to development but what I am very apposed to is the complete lack of a cohesive council plan with mandated guidelines to ensure developments are attractive, built for different households, have green and communal space, and light shafts between them, rather than the soul-destroying wall-to-wall high-rises we are now seeing. All the same height, overlooking grey concrete streets with maybe a couple of trees bunged on the side of the road.

  6. Berhampore Phil, 1. October 2020, 12:11

    There was a WCC project to develop Adelaide Road a few years ago.
    Nothing happened – from memory, WCC thought (wrongly) that the project was entitled to some subsidy from the government.

  7. James, 1. October 2020, 12:24

    Very sad that WCC so often comes up with ideas and then can’t deliver. That Adelaide Road project should be half way completed by now.

  8. Jeff, 1. October 2020, 13:18

    Good to hear, Conor. I’d hoped you weren’t a “Yes in someone else’s backyard” (YISEBY?). Look forward to seeing you advocate as vocally for greater housing density in Wadestown as you do for Newtown and Berhampore.

    At a median price of $1.2m compared to Newtown’s $810k housing is very unaffordable in Wadestown. Plus, I assume the value of character villas in Wadestown will only go up if there are less of them in other parts of Wellington, pushing that median price up further.

  9. Peter Steven, 1. October 2020, 13:43

    I can’t believe how fast the Urban Habitat Collective have made progress, their plans look so amazing! We need many more developments like the ones you mentioned if Wellington is to remain a vibrant city with a diverse range of people living here.

    I think a lot of people in the comments here on Wellington.Scoop are forgetting that the Draft Spatial Plan is planning for the next 40 years – I think it’s likely that Adelaide Road will be fully developed by the end of the decade. It’s imperative that we build more housing close to the city not only to become a more sustainable, livable city and also to prevent Wellington from becoming a mono-cultural wasteland of rich boomers in the future.

    I don’t live in Wellington because of the old wooden houses, I live here because it’s the most compact city in New Zealand, it’s surrounded by nature and it attracts a lot of interesting people. Some of my friends have moved out to the Hutt because rent is too high in the city. It sucks. I don’t see them much any more.

  10. Conor, 1. October 2020, 15:08

    Jeff – I’ve written three pieces about the spatial plan. They have all been about generic issues, and none have focussed on Newtown on Berhampore.

    If you want to suggest in your submission zoning type 4a city wide, go for it.

  11. Claire, 1. October 2020, 15:28

    Adelaide Road is the place to develop, even twenty six to eight story buildings could go there.That plus all the other capacity will be more than enough.

  12. mw, 1. October 2020, 17:07

    @conor. Yes let’s talk about the Monark apartments in Adelaide Rd..the one that was supposed to be finished in July now pushed out until June 2022…a month before the sunset deadline clause that allows all parties to pull out of it. One of the first Kiwibuild agreements signed in June 2018. Now underwritten by the government for 40 million dollars up from 19 million.
    1 and 2 bedrooms and no family units….more info on size. And the news before the government increased the underwriting.
    Let’s be better than the plan…and if one is listening, there are some good ideas out there that allow for both.

  13. mw, 1. October 2020, 19:20

    I notice the councils aren’t talking about reducing consent costs to help houses to be affordable. As this article notes, there’s too many people clipping the ticket.

  14. wendy, 3. October 2020, 8:52

    Given land costs are a huge part of building, what about the govt/council making it easy for owners of large sections be able to subdivide/lease their land to others. In this way the ‘builders’ and ‘leasors’ could work together to ensure both parties were happy with the build and one another, and costs associated with leasing were kept to a minimum.

  15. Laura, 3. October 2020, 13:53

    Why doesn’t the WCC introduce a different rating system. For example, the Tip Top site owned by Ryman Health on Adelaide Road should be charged many times more than they are paying now, due to their derelict site that they’ve been land banking for the last ten years, an absolute disgrace that the Council gave them RC to do just that. All those nimbys in Mt Vic and Newtown who don’t want six storey apartments in their back yard should pay twice the amount of rates, and those poor residents who will lose the sun due to buildings blocking their sun should pay only a third of what they pay now. I wonder if Ryman Health would be keen to sit on such a large pocket of land for more than a decade, that Wellington could put affordable housing on, if the Council made them pay through the nose in rates, rather than pitting neighbours against each other like their new proposal.

  16. Claire, 3. October 2020, 15:42

    I think everyone is over the Nimby thing. Ask your parents. The actual problem is inaction by the Key govt and the council to develop more housing. For example on Adelaide Road. They started, then abandoned that. They have been asked for decades to develop it.

  17. Julienz, 3. October 2020, 16:38

    @Laura – What will you charge if “those poor residents who will lose the sun due to buildings blocking their sun” are also “those nimbys in Mt Vic and Newtown who don’t want six storey buildings in their backyards?”