With the help of our community, the Ōtorohanga District Council has developed and adopted the Ōtorohanga Town Concept Plan. This is a blueprint for the future of Ōtorohanga – our Town.

On 6 October 2022 the Council adopted the Ōtorohanga Town Concept Plan (section one and section two) and Summary document. This reflects a 9-month journey with our community, stakeholders and partners (see diagram below).




During the course of the project, we’ve engaged widely on the development of the Plan and sought feedback on the issues, constraints and opportunities. These are things that people said needed to be addressed or pursued to make the Town a better place for all. This final version of the Plan reflects the feedback we received.

The Ōtorohanga Town Concept Plan (ŌTCP) identifies where and how our town could grow, as well as helping to guide future developments in and around the town centre.  The ŌTCP provides a focus for local public places, spaces and facilities, which helps guide how and when to develop these places/facilities.

It also helps Council set the right policies and plans to enable the community, businesses and organisations to help bring the plan to life. The ŌTCP contains an action plan the community helped develop, so will guide future projects for Council, and provide direction to help create the future the community wants. 

Ultimately, the ŌTCP is about improving the wellbeing of our local community and making the best use of available resources.

What a TCP is not …

A TCP is not a statutory document – so, for example, it is not a District Plan review and it cannot change the zoning of any land. However, a TCP can signal areas where it may be appropriate to consider certain types of development. Changing the zoning of any land can only be undertaken through a review or change to the District Plan, and there a strict rules around how this process is undertaken and the consultation and engagement that must occur.   

A TCP helps identify and assess a range of challenges, issues and opportunities in a coordinated way, particularly when there are a range of views and options needing consideration. Because TCPs are spatial (about a place) it’s easier to see how these things interact and where they may impact. TCPs are particularly useful for growing areas, where the nature, extent and options for the location of growth can be considered. The actions needed to implement a TCP can be prioritised in line with available budget, resources and where other things need to happen first.

The need for and benefit of a TCP for Ōtorohanga arose out of Council’s long-term plan early engagement process in 2020/21. Projections indicated the district would continue to grow and the community said they want to see more vibrancy and investment to make the District an even better place to live, work and play. The Council accepted it needed to plan for this growth and invest in the future, ensuring our community has access to good quality facilities and that our public spaces are more attractive and functional.

As part of the 2021-2031 Long Term Plan, Council committed to working with our communities, and partnering with mana whenua, to develop three concept plans (blueprints for the future). These will cover the entire Ōtorohanga district – Ōtorohanga urban, Kāwhia/Aotea, and our rural areas. We started with the plan for Ōtorohanga Township and will move on to the Kāwhia/Aotea and Rural Area plans in 2023.  

The Ōtorohanga TCP (ŌTCP) covers the Ōtorohanga Ward area (see below), which includes the town (urban) area.

The ŌTCP is a tool to help with planning the future development of Ōtorohanga, but there is no statutory requirement to have it. This means the ŌTCP has no specific legal status, but it’s still very useful to have for the reasons outlined above and, particularly, as a feed into several key statutory planning processes we will need to undertake to fully implement the Plan.

They way in which parks and reserve areas are developed and managed is covered by reserve management plans – a requirement of the Reserves Act 1977. Key areas of the draft ŌTCP consider issues, challenges and opportunities in relation to our parks and reserves, and signal specific actions to consider. Reserve management plans will be needed/updated to embed and progress these matters.

Recent (2021) growth projections indicate another 1000 people will call Ōtorohanga town home over the next 25 years or so. This means about 400 more houses and opportunities for business growth (existing and new businesses). The draft ŌTCP signals areas where this growth could be considered, which largely follow where growth has already been occurring, as well as the need to consider new areas. The standards and rules for where and how growth can occur are contained in the District Plan, and any changes to that document must follow a strict process set out in the Resource Management Act 1991. Typically, changes to accommodate growth would be considered as part of a review of the District Plan – a process that must involve extensive analysis/assessment and community/stakeholder engagement and consultation. These review processes can take several years (or more) to complete. 

Very unlikely. The ŌTCP covers a 25-30 year period, and a lot can and will change in that time. Therefore, it’s important that the ŌTCP is seen as a living document and regularly reviewed to take account of these changes. Typically, a TCP should be reviewed at least every 5-6 years.

Council intends developing separate concept plans for Kāwhia/Aotea and the rural areas of the District, with the process for these getting underway in 2023. Once completed, the three concept plans will cover the entire District. 

The ŌTCP contains an action list, and Council staff and stakeholders will start implementing these actions in line with the priority and timing set. There will be a range of short, medium and long-term actions. A few major actions may take 5-10 years (or more) to progress and complete.

Some actions will require a specific process to be followed before they can be implemented. This may mean specific assessment work and/or engagement/consultation with community/stakeholders will be required.

With the ŌTCP implementation, the Council wants as many individuals, groups and organisations involved as possible.  There will be more information on the ŌTCP implementation shared with the community.