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Auckland Council The Auckland Plan

Te Taiwhenua o Tāmaki Makaurau

Rural Auckland

Auckland's rural areas are a mix of cultivated, natural and built environments that contribute significantly to Auckland's identity and character.

Rural Auckland is home to nationally and internationally significant environments and natural resources and hosts a diverse range of economic activities.

These activities include agriculture, forestry, horticulture, quarrying and the services that support them.

Auckland's rural environments vary

Auckland's rural areas consist of many different environments including:

  • areas of rural production
  • protected areas
  • coastal areas
  • countryside living areas
  • towns and villages.

The southern rural area has a unique combination of temperate climate and frost-free fertile land, which enables a wider range of vegetables to be grown for longer periods than other areas of the country.

This makes a significant contribution to Auckland's and New Zealand's food supply.

The north and north-west has an increasing focus on rural tourism, vineyards and niche food production.

Rural towns and villages vary from small coastal settlements to the satellite towns of Warkworth and Pukekohe.

The types of infrastructure and community facilities needed to support rural Auckland vary in terms of place and community.

Challenges and opportunities

Changes in the broader Auckland and national context create a range of challenges as well as opportunities for rural Auckland.

Population growth, increased demand for rural living, stressed natural systems, and changing land values create pressures and tensions between different activities.

Conversely, the commercial production of locally-grown food, as well as tourism, recreation and productive activities are made possible by the proximity of urban Auckland.

Growth has contributed to:

  • high levels of subdivision across rural areas
  • fragmentation of productive land
  • domestication and commercialisation of rural landscapes
  • introduction of sensitive land uses into working environments
  • changes in rural land use.

Growth in other regions and near Auckland's boundaries creates cross-boundary issues regarding alignment of respective development strategies, and the provision of transport, infrastructure, housing and community facilities.

In the south, settlements are growing closer together and rural production operates across boundaries.

In the north, the extension to the Road of National Significance to Wellsford will improve accessibility to urban Auckland and to Whangarei.

These growth factors have resulted in a decrease in the number of rural production properties, and an increase in the number of lifestyle properties.

For example, over the two decades from 1996 to 2016, the number of rural production properties decreased by around 40 per cent, which represents a 25 per cent loss in area, while the number of lifestyle properties increased by around 50 per cent (35 per cent in area).

Auckland rural land use change 1996-2016

​Graphic: Rural production property land use and area change 1996-2016, Core Logic (2017)  – based on rural valuation categories.


Minerals are essential for Auckland's development. The demand for minerals in Auckland, particularly aggregates, is expected to increase from 10 million tonnes to 15 million tonnes per annum by 2041.

This increased demand is to support growth and development. Maintaining an accessible supply of aggregates is of regional importance.

Approach to rural growth

Residential growth in rural Auckland will be focused mainly in the towns which provide services for the wider rural area, particularly the rural nodes of Pukekohe and Warkworth.

Less growth is anticipated in the smaller towns and villages.

Rural lifestyle growth will be focused into those areas zoned as 'countryside living', away from the most environmentally sensitive and economically productive areas.

Only a small amount of growth is anticipated in the wider rural area. This growth is likely to relate to environmental enhancement and existing vacant lots.

This will ensure that Auckland's rural, coastal, marine and natural environments can co-exist in a balanced way with the working activities (such as farming, forestry, fishing, tourism) that rely on them and help sustain the regional community.

To ensure that rural production can continue and develop, land fragmentation and reverse sensitivity must be minimised to safeguard Auckland's land and soil resources, particularly elite soils and prime soils.

This will also support the resources and production systems, including water supply, that underpin working rural land.

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