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 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