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What is a spatial plan?

A spatial plan is a blueprint for a district that provides the foundation for all future planning and investment by Council. Ultimately, it will help to determine what our district looks like in 30+ years’ time and map out how we get there.

Ahu Ake – Waipā Community Spatial Plan will consider things like whether we need more walking and cycling infrastructure in our towns and villages or parks and open spaces, whether we should allow for more development in our rural spaces or intensification in our centres. It will map out how we are going to look after our environment and tackle climate change, how we are going to keep our economy thriving and attract more businesses to our district, and so much more.

The spatial plan will set out where we want to go and how we are going to get there, and from it we’ll know what we need to do to manage growth, what investment decisions we need to make and how we can ensure Waipā continues to be a great place to live, work, and play. 

Check out the graphic on the right to see how Ahu Ake fits in with our other plans and projects

Vision & Community Outcomes

The Ahu Ake – Waipā Community Spatial Plan has been developed through extensive engagement with Mana Whenua/Iwi, stakeholders, and the wider community. The next step is formal consultation with the community before the plan is adopted.

In 2020, we worked closely with our communities to create a vision for our district. It describes our purpose which is to partner with the community to protect and care for the wellbeing of the district and its people. 

We also created four community outcomes. To make our vision a reality, these are the things we need to achieve. The spatial plan is important because it will help us to do just that.

Our vision is what we are striving for, our community outcomes are what we need to achieve to make this a reality, and our spatial plan is how we get there.

Our vision 

Waipā Home of Champions: Building connected communities

Our community outcomes 

The outcomes we want to achieve for Waipā all have community wellbeing at the heart.

He aha te mea nui o te ao? Māku e kī atu he tangata, he tangata, he tangata! – it’s all about people

  • Waipā is a great place to live, work, play and invest
  • We invest in hauora and support the great work community groups do
  • Waipā provides a high quality of life for current and future generations

The spatial plan will consider things like:

  • How we make Waipā a great place to live, work, play and invest – do we need better walking and cycling networks, more parks and playgrounds, more open spaces?
  • How we provide for current and future generations – do we need more retirement facilities, better medical services, more parks? 

Promoting our culture and heritage

  • We champion the unique history of Waipā
  • We have a high level of cultural awareness
  • We partner with Mana Whenua
  • We respect the cultural diversity in our district

The spatial plan will consider things like:

  • How we champion our history – does there need to be more investment into story telling programmes like Te Ara Wai Journeys?
  • How do we raise our cultural awareness – do we need to invest in free Te Reo Māori classes or cultural connection courses for people to take?

Protecting and sustaining our environment

  • Environmental awareness and responsibility is promoted within the community
  • We support programmes that promote environmental sustainability
  • We are responsive to climate change

The spatial plan will consider things like:

  • How we respond to climate change – do we need to invest in better walking and cycling networks and public transport systems to reduce our dependence on cars, do we need to do more to protect and enhance our peat lakes as they become warmer? 

Supporting a thriving, sustainable economy

  • We have financially sustainable decision making and work programmes
  • We provide new infrastructure as an economic stimulus for our district
  • Our services provide excellent value for money
  • We actively promote our district to enable development, employment and business opportunities
  • Waipā is a great place to invest and do business

The spatial plan will consider things like:

  • How we provide new infrastructure – what infrastructure do we need and how will we pay for it?
  • How we make Waipā a great place to invest and do business – does there need to be more investment in business development, do we need to review our zoning?

Our name 

The name Ahu Ake has been gifted to us by Mana Whenua. ‘Ahu Ake’ reflects the essence of the spatial plan through a Māori lens, and its intent with a Māori world view and the way in which Māori perceive the world.

There are many meanings for ‘Ahu’, and similarly, for the word ‘Ake’. 

In the context of our spatial plan the meaning is:


  • To move, to proceed with a direction and focus or plan in place.

  • To focus and proceed to a direction or place.


  • An intensifier of the preceding word.

When we combine the two words, ‘Ahu Ake’ captures the intent to proceed, move forward and progress into the future with a plan in place to guide and focus the movement towards its aim and goals.

So, as we move forward and start to imagine what our future looks like, we do so with this special name.

Our story

Our story and the look and feel of our future spatial plan has been inspired by Aotearoa’s harakeke (flax) plant – a native plant with a long history of being both beautiful and practical.

The harakeke has long been used by Māori to make many things, including kete (woven baskets). The kete is a design that while being useful also represents a creation of strength, beauty, tradition and future use.

The act of weaving together the strong, often vibrant fibres that can be used by future generations, full of intricate detail, and able to be used in many ways, is how we see Ahu Ake - Waipā Community Spatial Plan. Intricately weaving a future plan for the Waipā District, creating places and spaces where we are proud to work, live and play. The weave creates a strength, bringing together the past, present and the future.

Its colours represent the different pillars in our district – including our people, our land, our environment, our wellbeing, our water ways.