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Wharemauku Park 
“House of Ferns”

Kāpiti's Urban Regeneration Project

A proposed central park and heart to Paraparaumu and Kāpiti.

Incorporating Whale Song, a Wharenui/Cultural Centre and

the Wharemauku Stream Forest Nursery restoration project.

​Aerial Masterplan

Wharemauku Park Aerial View

The Wharemauku, “House of Ferns” vision is very much focussed on our cultural connections, with all the park encompasses being interwoven with rangi, wai, whenua, tipu and kararehe. From this place, we will tell the Kāpiti story!


Looking back to the past, understanding the past and then building on the ever evolving story of Kāpiti’s future, will be a key factor in establishing a much more resilient, involved, connected, compassionate and creatively inspired Kāpiti community.

A unique feature of Paraparaumu is the large tracts of undeveloped land next to the CBD and the Wharemauku Stream which runs through it. From the hills above Paraparaumu, Wharemauku runs through the centre of Coastlands, along the southern end of the airport and into to the sea at Raumati Beach. The Stream’s catchment covers some 3,500 acres of largely undeveloped land within 15 minutes of Paraparaumu town centre.


> Read more: Wharemauku Catchment


Critical to unlocking investment from developers and other stakeholders in Paraparaumu is restoring the wairua of the Wharemauku Stream and fixing the hydrology issues in this flood-prone area. Many of these hydrology issues are the result of previous interventions such as the modification or removal of natural wetlands in the region, which need to be addressed.

This poses significant challenges to future development of large areas of undeveloped land and investment in the area.

The Council is aware of these issues, together with the significance of the Wharemauku Stream, which is captured in its 2005 Vision for Wharemauku

> Read more: Kapiti Coast Community Outcomes


This vision for Wharemauku included:

  • A catchment that is restored and protected for future generations.

  • Enhanced opportunities for public access and recreation along the Stream.

  • Increased awareness of the Stream’s importance, through education initiatives.

  • Improved water quality.

  • Improved biodiversity throughout the Stream and its immediate environs.

  • The Stream as a focal point for the Kāpiti community

  • Better outcomes for drainage management, maintenance, erosion and flooding within the wider context of Stream restoration.


Working towards these outcomes will require:

  • Encouraging community involvement in managing the stream.

  • Fostering partnerships (KCDC, GWRC, Iwi, Department of Conservation, Forest & Bird, interest groups and the local community).


According to the vision statement, restoring wetlands and the stream (currently a highly modified ditch in a paddock), increasing stream capacity and areas of ponding/wetlands to reduce peak rain events causing flooding of the Raumati area, will enable significant upstream development, in a way that is respectful of this waterway.

Continued infill housing and “multiple dwelling” subdivisions upstream all have some effect on the Wharemauku Stream and its wellbeing.

The restoration of the Wharemauku Stream, its ecology and capacity and its future surroundings requires a unified approach from multiple parties as described in the vision above.

Key partners include Puketapu ki Paraparaumu Hapū of Te Atiawa ki Whakarongotai Iwi and Te Atiawa ki Kāpiti Charitable Trust who provide Cultural Consent Services on behalf of the Iwi.  


> Read more: TAKW Kaitiakitanga Plan 

Many whānau of Puketapu ki Paraparaumu also belong to Ngahina Trust, which supports the creation of Wharemauku Park to focus attention on the health and vitality of the awa.

A proposed Wharenui/Cultural Centre in the park will provide mana whenua in Paraparaumu with a spiritual home as well as a community learning centre associated with the restoration of the Wharemauku Stream. Future and current housing developments will be welcomed provided they are designed in sync with the whenua, the awa and the people.

To advance this kaupapa, a group of iwi, landowners and developers was formed to work towards a collaborative plan. The outcome is restoring the wairua of the Wharemauku Stream and its surroundings, improving hydrology and stormwater capability, culminating with the creation of a new central park as a centrepiece of this huge area of future development. 

Parks and greenspaces are an essential part of building a healthy and connected community and developments need to include this in their designs.

This Iwi’s goal of restoring the wairua of their awa are consistent with this narrative.

  • The environment is a place that supports healthy wairua of the people. It is clean, calm, safe and conflict free.

  • The presence of native animals can be observed and heard in the environment.

  • The wairua of people is supported through their ability to practise mahinga kai.

  • The people of Te Ātiawa ki Whakarongotai have good self-esteem about the state of the environment.

  • Our people feel a sense of pride and fulfilment about the capability of our iwi as kaitiaki.

  • The people of Te Ātiawa ki Whakarongotai are free of stress and trauma brought about through environmental degradation and change.

  • Wāhi tapu, tikanga and kōrero tuku iho are respected and protected.

  • Tikanga Māori and mana motuhake of Te Ātiawa ki Whakarongotai is abided by in the active protection of wāhi tapu and kōrero tuku iho.


Included in the proposed Wharemauku Park will be Whale Song – A life sized bronze sculptural installation of a pod of seven humpback whales, representing Aotearoa’s cultural connection to whales, Kāpiti’s whaling past, New Zealand’s earliest commercial exports (whale oil and flax fibre) and these huge creatures that frequent our coast today.

The park vision, Whale Song and the Wharenui are being developed by the Wharemauku Working Group (WWG), which comprises representatives from mana whenua Puketapu ki Paraparaumu, Coastlands Shoppingtown, Alpha Corporation, major developers Sheffield properties, Ngahina Developments and the Templeton Group.

Upcoming investment in Paraparaumu by these parties is hugely significant to the region and working in consultation with KCDC the WWG are committed to creating a community asset (Wharemauku Park) as integral to the future development of their land, the town centre and the Kāpiti District. This vision meets with the objectives of numerous planning and strategy documents produced by council over many years, including the revitalised Town Centre Plan.


Kāpiti Coast District Council has been leading an in-depth hydrology study of the Wharemauku catchment and required infrastructure improvements.


The study will provide guidance on wetland solutions to improve stormwater storage capacity to prevent flooding events in the lower Wharemauku catchment area.


Funding this wetland restoration and stormwater infrastructure works is the focus of the Wharemauku Working Group, which will then lead to more housing and commercial development of the area.


Location of any new lakes/wetlands as a part of the stormwater retention will provide developers of the surrounding lands with clarity ensuring their developments are aligned with and in synergy with a restored Wharemauku and complementary to the proposed park.


The planned surrounding land development will be mixed use, with residential dwellings combined with commercial office spaces, retail and hospitality. This will provide sustainable economic growth with the resulting jobs based around a place where people will desire to work, live and play.


The development of this area alongside the Wharemauku Stream fulfils multiple government directives, meeting the diverse needs of the communities reliant on this area, encouraging wellbeing and community connection with a well-functioning, highly liveable urban environment. This core development is also looking to provide for the Regional Accommodation Project* of Governments regionalisation plan ($20m Retail, $30m- Govt , $50m Housing). This development and those that will follow on this central Paraparaumu land will all want to meet the ideology behind the “15 minute city” concept. The 15-minute city is a residential urban concept in which residents are able to meet most of their needs within a short walk or bicycle ride from their homes.

The manu whenua of this land, Puketapu ki Paraparaumu hapu, represented by the Puketapu ki Paraparaumu Charitable Trust and Ngahina Trust/Develpoments, are a key stakeholder of the Wharemauku Working Group from its inception and continue to be involved in all things relevant to Wharemauku stream, the park vision and establishment of a new cultural centre/wharenui representing their mana whenua over this land. Many whānau of Puketapu ki Paraparaumu are Ngahina Trust beneficiaries and some whānau are shareholders in Coastlands Shoppingtown.

The Town Centre is being developed on their ancestral lands with the whānau continuing to contribute to the ongoing development of the Town Centre including enhancing the cultural presence.


Creation of a central park as a direct outcome of hydrology improvements and restoration of the Wharemauku waterway is supported by the community and businesses in the area. 


It is possible that these housing and commercial developments could continue without any collaborative planning on waterways and stormwater management, yet it is in the interest of everyone to end up with this community asset (a restored and more resilient catchment and the creation of a central park) that is well planned, well supported, environmentally well thought out and sensitive to the cultural and physical needs of the people.

Our Whāinga

The objectives and outcomes of this vision are as follows:


  • Whale Song – a sculpture of 7 humpback whales in full size cast in bonze, reflecting Maori and Kāpiti’s cultural connection to whales, Kāpiti’s whaling past and its early connection to the beginnings of colonisation of New Zealand.


  • The proposed Cultural Centre / Wharenui situated within Wharemauku expresses the unique relationship of mana whenua to their ancestral lands and awa, and in particular that of  Puketapu Hapū ki Paraparaumu (Te Ātiawa).


  • The Cultural Centre will provide wānanga or learning opportunities for whānau as well as access for the community to build relationship with tangata whenua and participate in Kaitiakitanga of our natural environment.  Wharemauku supports `Whakarongotai o te moana, Whakarongotai o te wā’  - Kaitiakitanga Plan for Te Ātiawa ki Whakarongotai.


  • Wharemauku will provide a heart, a sense of place and central identity for Kāpiti.


  • Creating a significant number of jobs through building infrastructure that will then support commercial development of bulk retail, office parks and light industrial planned on over 80 acres of unused prime land, including 20 acres owned by iwi.


  • Wharemauku, with the realisation of the surrounding land for development, will attract business to invest in the area as an exciting place for their staff to live work and play.


  • Raising awareness of conservation needed to preserve the marine environment.


  • Curriculum that will enable the teaching of Kāpiti’s cultural history and significance in the beginnings of a colonised New Zealand, along with the many stories within this journey in time, for future generations.


  • Key also is supporting and implementing local iwi objectives in the restoration of this stream and adjacent land, which include;

    • Water supports the healthy wairua of the people. It is clean, calm, safe, with life and conflict free.

    • The presence of native flora and fauna can be observed and heard in the waterscapes.

    • The community having good self-esteem about the state of local waterways.

Our Tikanga

To use the best practices, actions, policies, work approaches, guidance, rules and programmes to achieve these outcomes.


Our Kaupapa

The values that we place on achieving these outcomes.

These include;

To create a place that reflect’s our past and tells the Kāpiti story.


To create places that are good for the wairua that are protected and maintained. This includes both those that provide solace and serenity, as well as those that support sport and recreation.


Creating a place where performances and gatherings are held in which people can share in experiences that build wellbeing, connection and confidence in our community.


Restoring Te Ao Tūroa, the natural order, balance and pattern that is fundamental to the world we live in. The wetlands of the district are especially important to iwi, being seen originally as a place to live that could be sustained and nourished. Healthy wetlands support a range of mahinga kai and are proven to provide important ecological processes in the district’s waterways. Water passing through healthy wetlands is filtered and cleansed before reaching the sea as sediment drops out with the organisms living in these wetlands remediating contaminants these sediments carry.


Supporting our community to maintain and restore their relationship to the whenua me te moana (land and sea), thus improving awareness that all water is one, from the mountains to the sea. Better understanding will lead to better care of this precious and critical part of our natural world and its inhabitants, such as whales.

Key Features of Project

  • Infrastructure - Providing services (3 waters) to over 80 acres of bare land, including 20 acres of unused iwi land, for commercial development - expected 200 jobs for construction, up to 1,000 jobs as a result of completion of the commercial development of surrounding land (office parks, retail and light industry).

  • Playground – part of the KCDC Town Centre Plan already.

  • Wharenui – A place to immerse oneself in the Kāpiti’s story, a meeting place, performance space/cultural centre for Iwi. Thinking cohesively this new cultural centre could integrate some aspects with the proposed rebuild of the nearby Te Newhanga Kāpiti Community Centre.

  • Forest nursery - showcase and educate around native plants, propogation, medicinal uses, food and as a resource (harakeke/weaving, carving, etc).

  • Outdoor entertainment and performance spaces.

  • Whale sculpture (7 full size bronze humpback whales on a one acre site) - Conservation awareness, curriculum resources, tourist attraction, community hub, place of contemplation, and creative stimulation.

  • Creation of a new heart for Paraparaumu and a central park for Kāpiti. Much like Central Park in New York, Hyde Park in London, central parks are an essential part of a successful city and the wellbeing of their communities.

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