Spatial plan insights revealed

Ōhaupō – the town of the future.

That is the scenario and one of several key focus areas included in consultation documents for Waipā’s spatial plan Ahu Ake which the council’s Strategic Planning and Policy committee approved yesterday (Wednesday).

From around 2045, the village will grow by several thousand driven by growth from Hamilton south and the availability of a high-frequency bus service and wastewater, the documents say.


Ōhaupō/Rotopiko will become a highly desirable destination and part of the wetland/cultural heritage/mountain offerings of the district. A National Wetland Centre at Rotopiko could support this through tourism and educational offerings and may benefit from a destination management plan.

High economic growth will also continue in and around Hamilton Airport and Hautapu while there would be more housing choices – like small apartments, townhouses and duplexes – in Cambridge and Te Awamutu to accommodate the growing population.

Once the Cambridge to Piarere national road of significance work is completed, and SH1 has been realigned, the council would lobby for Karāpiro School to be moved into the village or ensure there were good connections to the existing school.

Lake adventures at Karāpiro. Photo: Hamilton and Waikato Tourism.

Working alongside mana whenua, there would be more recreational and cultural areas and better facilities created around Lake Karāpiro to attract more visitors.

Consultation on Ahu Ake started in 2020 and engagement undertaken with mana whenua, key stakeholders and the wider community.

A Back to the Land scenario is now included which shows papakāinga developments across the district, revitalised marae, more young people living in rural environments, and people commuting less as work arrangements become more flexible and working from home becomes more the norm.

World Café workshops last year added to the consultative process. Formal consultation with the public starts later this year.

Mt Pirongia. Photo: Hamilton and Waikato Tourism.

Other key focuses in Ahu Ake are:

  • Protecting and improving Waipā’s at-risk peat lakes and investing in the creation and protection of a network of ecological reserves linking them with Pirongia, Kakepuku and Maungatautari mountains.
  • Investing in frequent public transport options and introducing a service between Cambridge and Te Awamutu.
  • Better walking and cycling connections.
  • Improving how the district recognises and showcases art, architecture, events and design that connects with Waipā’s history.
  • Invigorating town centres by making them more vibrant by improving existing spaces, such as town hall, parks and plazas which allow people to connect.
  • Completing and extend the recreational cycleway network linking Pirongia, Ngā Roto, Ōhaupō and Te Awamutu.

    An artists’ impression of the Ōhaupō pedestrian crossing nearing completion.

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