Ahurareka Estate, Beachlands, Auckland, NZ


Ahuareka Trustees limited

Ahuareka has been designed as a sustainable mixed use village based on the best old-world traditions of town and country building, all within commuting distance of Auckland City. Common Ground developed the design for a compact settlement of over 200 houses within a footplate of just 20% of the 100ha site area (compared to just 20 lots allowed under the current rules).

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The project is a vigorous response to the effect of existing planning rules losing valuable productive land and natural landscape to large-lot residential lifestyle properties in peri-urban areas. Key to the design is a comprehensive land use analysis and mapping process that identified an Ecological Preserve and an Agricultural Estate sufficient to be able to create and operate within internal and local economies. The Village itself is fitted along the weakest marginal zone as a way of protecting the Preserve against future land-use changes and provide maximum natural amenity for residents.

Being decapitalised by the Village development, the self-funding, mixed farming operation is the best way of protecting and strengthening natural and landscape values on the productive land. The internal economy created by the village at this scale is sufficient to support the farm and allow best environmental practice. With surplus production, the farm is then free to develop local markets to the benefit of the surrounding area as well as to the property as a whole.

This development has influenced a changing planning position of allowing appropriate development in peri-urban environments by demonstrating qualitative and quantitative environmental and economic benefit to the community.

  • Concept and Visioning
  • Urban Design
  • Landscape Assessment
  • Land use Planning & Strategy
  • Masterplanning
  • Architectural concepts (including Typologies development)
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Consultation
  • Hearings and Environment Court

Value of Project:

NZ$200 Million (2012)
Value of Consultancy Services:

NZ$450,000 (2012)

Added Value:

  • Successfully achieving a development approach not allowed in rules
  • Increase in yield from 20 to over 200 houses
  • Revitalisation of the land as an economically viable farm
  • A more sustainable and resilient approach to infrastructure provision and waste minimisation
  • Design response that delivered increased market value
  • Creation of a sustainable mixed use village underpinned by comprehensive Urban Design Framework
  • Development on just 20% of the 100ha site
  • 200 unique houses based on just 12 house types
  • Incorporation of commercial activities and retention of working farm
  • Facilitation of coastal walkway network
  • Successfully defended through Council Hearing and the Environment Court