Kaiapoi Town Centre

The Kaiapoi Town Centre Plan - 2028 and Beyond promotes a vision of a vibrant Town Centre that embraces the river, attracts visitors and new businesses and creates enjoyable public spaces.

For the first time, it also includes Masterplans for the Mixed-Use Business Areas which provide us with an exciting opportunity to shape the future of the Town Centre. We believe Kaiapoi will become a destination; a place to live, shop, dine and relax.

The Draft Kaiapoi Town Centre Plan was open for public consultation throughout August 2018. Community feedback and submissions were then considered, revisions made and the final plan was adopted by the Council in November 2018.  

Now that the Plan has been adopted, we have started working on the Plan’s 26 actions.  Progress updates can be found in the section below.

Latest Project Update: Kaiapoi Town Centre Update #2 - December 2019

Project Updates

Kaiapoi Town Centre Plan Update #2 (2.2 MB, PDF File)
Update Published: 23 Dec 2019
The Kaiapoi Marine Precinct is open for business, more car parking is on the way and we give an update on the motor caravan park proposal.
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Kaiapoi Town Centre Plan Update #1 (1.3 MB, PDF File)
Update Published: 04 Mar 2019
In our first update, we look at the completion of the Riverview Terraces, interest in the Mixed-Use Business Area and a new development for Williams Street.
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Mayoral Introduction

The Waimakariri District Council is pleased to present the Kaiapoi Town Centre Plan. This Plan presents a renewed vision for the future of Kaiapoi as ‘New Zealand’s Best Rivertown’ and provides our community, the council and other stakeholders with a framework that will cultivate positive growth over the next 10 years and beyond.

It represents the culmination of significant work that has gone into planning for the future of the Kaiapoi town centre and we are grateful to everyone who has contributed, both during the development phase and through the consultation process. Our task is to maintain the regeneration momentum by building on the successful and unique elements that already exist in the heart of Kaiapoi, including projects that were completed as part the previous 2011 Kaiapoi Town Centre Plan.

For the first time, we can include master plans for the Mixed-Use Business Areas that were established following the Canterbury earthquakes. Given their location, they provide a unique opportunity to support the town centre and we know residents will be excited to see a vision for the future of these spaces.

In the Plan, we’ve outlined 26 projects that will help achieve that renewed vision for Kaiapoi.

Ideas are easy; implementation is everything and together with the community, businesses, developers and key stakeholders, we look forward to making it happen.

Why Do We Need a Plan?

The Waimakariri District has enjoyed sustained population growth for more than 20 years, and this trend is expected to continue. As the second largest centre in the district, Kaiapoi has the opportunity to capitalise on this growth through enhanced commercial and retail offerings which draw on the strengths of the town, namely its location on the banks of the Kaiapoi River and its historic rivertown values.

Iconic stores such as Blakeleys Fine Furniture and Blackwell’s Department Store already attract shoppers from outside the Kaiapoi area and there’s opportunity to build on these examples and establish Kaiapoi as a destination for those seeking to live, relax, shop and dine.

There has been community concern regarding the ongoing prosperity of the town centre, for example a significant amount of spending by residents is currently occurring outside of Kaiapoi in areas such as northern Christchurch.

The 2011 Kaiapoi Town Centre Plan provided a response to these concerns, but now that the majority of that plan has been implemented, we need to find new projects that will build on that success and ensure Kaiapoi’s ongoing prosperity.

Where Is the Kaiapoi Town Centre?

The town centre area comprises approximately 16 hectares and includes retail premises, commercial services, and community facilities. It also includes some residential properties either side of the Kaiapoi River between Hilton Street and Charles Street.

For the purposes of this plan, the town centre is generally defined as incorporating all of the Waimakariri District Plan Business 1 Zone.

What Makes a Good Town Centre?

A good town centre is not just a place to shop; it has many functions. When business activities such as shops and offices are co-located with community, recreational and entertainment facilities, they create a place where people like to spend time.

It requires a distinctive look and feel, with well-designed buildings that support local character, physical attractions such as parks and reserves and the provision of high quality public spaces for walking, sitting, enjoying art and community events. Kaiapoi’s point of difference is the river - we need to ensure we promote and make the most of our town’s iconic river setting.

This plan is underpinned by a desire to ensure that Kaiapoi survives economically and therefore good urban design is crucial. Making the town centre more attractive for both residents and visitors will also benefit businesses and Kaiapoi as a whole.

Mixed-Use Business Areas

The Council has a responsibility to implement the Waimakariri Residential Red Zone Recovery Plan 2016. This means we need to work with the community to determine activities for the Mixed-Use Business Areas (formerly residential redzone) and to develop an integrated ‘concept plan’ that combines them with the existing Kaiapoi Town Centre.

It is very unusual that town centres have such large areas of vacant land in single ownership on their doorstep, and so these areas provide a significant opportunity both to support the town centre now and provide for expansion as Kaiapoi grows.


While working with the community in preparing this Plan, seven principles for the development of the Mixed-Use Business Areas have been identified:

  1. Create a Destination.
  2. Attract a range of new activities and businesses.
  3. Acknowledge existing and previous residents.
  4. Include new riverside attractions.
  5. Promote a distinctive character and innovative and quality design solutions.
  6. Create a unique sense of place and public pride.
  7. Ensure better visual and physical access to the river.

Find Out More

The Draft Plan was developed by the Waimakariri District Council with the input of specialist urban design, market, transport, geotechnical and flooding experts. It draws from technical reports and background information, including those used to develop the 2011 Plan and the award-winning Waimakariri Residential Red Zone Recovery Plan 2016.

The development process included holding three ‘Inquiry by Design’ sessions with the Regeneration Steering Group and representatives of the wider community including the Kaiapoi Promotions Association, Enterprise North Canterbury, local businesses and local developers.

After consulting the community in August 2018, the draft plan was reviewed and updated into the final plan which was formally adopted by the Council in November 2018.

2011 Kaiapoi Town Centre Plan

Implementation of the 2011 Plan is now largely completed.  Archived updates and information on the previous plan are available here.