Oamaru Harbour Masterplan


​​​​​​Oamaru harbour view

‘Delivering benefits for all while protecting and enhancing what makes the Harbour area special.’

We’re developing a masterplan to shape the development of the Oamaru Harbour Space over the next 30 years and beyond.

A masterplan is a dynamic long-term planning document that provides a conceptual layout to guide future growth and development. Master planning is about making the connection between buildings, social settings, and their surrounding environments. At the same time, it will look at how people get to and move around the area, including transport, parking, walking and biking.

Project objectives

  1. We understand the importance of the community’s views and ensure they remain engaged throughout the process
  2. Integration of related strategies, plans and projects to enable a sequencing of priorities.
  3. We know what the future holds for the Oamaru Harbour Space and its surrounding areas.
  4. Identify key land uses, activities and improvements through a spatial plan
  5. Development of a plan that acts as a funnel for development initiatives. 

The Masterplan will act as a guiding document for future changes and development – including a set of principles that help filter ideas and proposals to ensure Oamaru continues to have one of the best little harbours in the country.

Council has recently undertaken a significant piece of public engagement, with the community sending the clear message that they are passionate about the harbour and want to ensure it continues to be cared for, while any changes or development need to be carefully considered.


Latest update

The Oamaru Harbour workshop held at the Opera House on 25 July was well received by the Harbour Area Committee. The Project team presented a new precinct-based approach to the committee and the public who attended the workshop. 

The harbour area was broken up into several different areas because the components of the harbour have unique circumstances and needs, and each move at their own pace. Rather than creating one overarching plan for the harbour, each area was assessed individually to a high level of detail, which is what the community had requested. This method was extremely well received by those who attended the workshop, including the Harbour Area Committee and a number of harbour stakeholders, gaining general agreement that this precinct-based approach was more sensible.

Each area, or precinct if you will, has been broken down into smaller projects and the best way forward for each is currently being assessed. The key issues include a parking strategy for the harbour area and how it links to the town centre, a traffic management plan and how to address the required modification of the current set of rules in the District Plan. Once we have a better understanding around how these aspects complement one another, we will be able to present a realistic timeline and prioritise.

A Harbour Area Committee workshop will be held on 25 July to discuss the next steps for the Harbour Plan 2019. This meeting will be open for the public to attend and observe the discussions between committee members. To allow greater participation, representatives from other groups who participated in the earlier ILM workshop will also be invited to contribute.

The meeting will be held in the Inkbox at the Opera House and is scheduled to begin at 3pm on Thursday 25 July.​

A workshop was held last Thursday with the harbour masterplan consultants where we discussed the most recent developments and made a plan going forward.

At this stage, 25 July will be a harbour area committee workshop, open for public attendance but otherwise a normal workshop with the committee. At this meeting, the project team will present a proposed mechanism to engage with the public and give everyone the opportunity to speak their mind on the identified areas. If this is approved, we will then proceed to build the platform and then have a public engagement period start on 25 August for a 2 – 3 week period.​

The aim of this engagement process is to get a clear steer from the community on the level of ambition, development and investment the community want to see in the Harbour Area. 

There’s no getting around the fact the that structures that make up the Harbour itself, namely; the Breakwater, Holmes Wharf, Sumpter Wharf, and Normanby Wharf as well as the dredging programme, are well beyond their used by dates and all require significantly increased investment to ensure they remain viable structures and the Harbour itself has a future.

Understanding what level of investment the community sees as acceptable is critical to ensuring the masterplan strikes the right balance between community sentiment and financial sustainability.



The harbour visualizing has commenced! On Monday this week a workshop was held with the Harbour Area Committee to discuss the Masterplan options that we’re going to consult with the community on. The Committee looked at different land and community uses across the harbour, the varying levels of investment required and what the future options could look like in 30 years. The project team is now working hard to refine the options so we can share them with the public for their feedback. This consultation is expected to kick off in late July and will look to understand what the public thinks around the levels of improvements needed in the harbour, the investment required, options for development and different funding scenarios. An updated timetable will be released soon, with dates including a public meeting where we’ll let everyone know how the project is tracking and explain the work done so far, we’re also going to set up a caravan on the Waterfront where people can drop in to have a chat about the Masterplan. Watch this space!​


HarbOur​Space Visioning​ (PDF, 768KB)​

The Project Team are busy putting together a detailed options matrix, taking into account the range of issues discussed at the ILM workshops which took place last month. These options will also be visualised by the team at LandLAB to help the Harbour Area Committee better understand how each option might look over the next 30 years. At the same time Veros will be looking at the sources of revenue that might help fund the masterplan. A workshop will be held with Councillors on 28 May to further discuss these ideas and we currently plan to present the outcomes of that workshop at the 25 June Council Meeting, and if approved will then look to consult with the community.​

We’ll continue to keep you updated as the project moves forward, rest assured a lot is happening behind the scenes and we’re looking forward to sharing it with everyone in due course. ​


Investment Logic Map approved by Harbour Area Committee

At the 16 April  Harbour Area Committee meeting, the Oamaru Harbour Masterplan Investment Logic Map was approved by the Committee.

An investment Logic Map (ILM) is a way of putting an investment proposal on a page so that anyone can understand it. In this case, the investment proposal is Oamaru Harbour, and the need to invest in the Harbour.

The ILM will support the development of the Oamaru Harbour Masterplan Business Case by identifying and clarifying the problems, as well as the benefits that can be expected by tackling the problems. 

This process ensures the thinking is done up front and ensures all stakeholders are clear on the direction of the process. In this case, the ILM was produced as part of a series of workshops held over April 1 and 2 involving a wide range of stakeholders, Council staff, elected members and subject matter experts. Strategic interventions haven’t been identified at this stage but will become clearer as the business case develops.

View the Oamaru Harbour Masterplan ILM​.


Work to develop a masterplan for the Oamaru Harbour began on April 1st with a series of workshops and meetings attended by the Harbour Area Committee, the Masterplan Project Team and a wide range of Harbour users and interested stakeholders and experts.

The workshop group discussed the key problems facing the Harbour, the benefits that would be achieved if those problems were addressed, and looked at a range of possible options.

The guiding statement for the work thus far is ‘delivering benefits for all while protecting and enhancing what makes the Harbour area special.’ A final vision for the Harbour that underpins the Masterplan will be refined as part of the process.

The workshops involved robust, constructive discussion facilitated by Rationale’s Edward Guy to define the problems facing the Harbour. 

These were eventually refined from a list of 34 separate issues to four key themes, which are:

  • The Heritage features all require investment now and into the future, which is beyond our current planning and financial means, leading to further decline and potential loss 
  • A lack of shared vision is leading to ad-hoc decisions, causing uncertainty and community tension, meaning we are missing opportunities to remedy the key issues.
  • Incomplete projects, disjointed elements, a lack of obvious connection to our town centre and the surrounding area, causes confusion, diminishing people’s experience.
  • Coastal processes, climate change, new wildlife habitats, poor visual amenity from built form, all provide mounting environmental pressure and investment uncertainty.

Following the problems, four benefit statements were identified:

  • Enhancing the Harbour in sympathy with the town’s heritage, creating a unique experience that residents are proud of, attracting visitors
  • Confidence - attracting increased investment in the Harbour area
  • Keep adding to the Harbour area’s vitality in a planned way that complements and benefits the town centre where possible.
  • Protecting wildlife and improving underlying environmental outcomes, helping people enjoy and understand both.

A team of experts with specialist skills in infrastructure investment, business case development, urban design, transport and connectivity, property and engagement are now working with Council Officers to develop a short list of options to present for approval at the full Council meeting on 30 April. Following this, the project team will work to identify a Masterplan programme that will be provided to the community for feedback in late May. 


Updated on 19 February 2019

At a full council meeting on 19 February, Councillors voted on the next stages of the Oamaru Harbour Masterplan project, following the framework set down in an Establishment Report. 

Councillors were asked to approve one of three delivery options, with varying levels of engagement and detailed design. They delivery option they agreed on has an estimated cost of $150,000 and an expected delivery date of June 25.

The masterplan will be developed using the NZ Treasury Better Business Case framework which ensures a thorough process, and will be undertaken as one workstream taking into account a number of components including:

  1. Land use and spatial plan
  2. Transport, connectivity and accessibility
  3. Heritage and environment

The Masterplan will deliver a spatial plan, indicating what should go where and how each element should interact with the others. This will deliver an easy to understand plan that will allow community buy in.

It will act as a guiding document for future changes and development – including a set of principles that help filter ideas and proposals to ensure Oamaru continues to have one of the best little harbours in the country.

Once the draft Masterplan is ready, the public will be asked to provide feedback on it during a consultation in late May/early June.

The establishment report was prepared for Council by infrastructure consultancy firm Rationale Ltd. following the successful Oamaru HarbOUR engagement process held at the end of last year. It details the Masterplan process, governance structure, scope, components, estimated costs and the timeline for completion.

Oamaru HarbOUR Space Masterplan ​draft Establishment Report (PDF, 1.64MB)


Where are we talking about?

In the map below, you’ll see the area that we’ll be focussing on, as well as the area that we’ll think about when developing the Oamaru Harbour Masterplan (the area of influence).


Why a masterplan?

The Oamaru Harbour has played a significant role in the history of Oamaru, it has shaped commerce and the development of the town since the 1880s.

In more recent times it has begun the transformation into a popular destination for residents, families and visitors. This has been done under the direction established in the 2011 Oamaru Harbour Development Strategy, which aimed for Oamaru Harbour to be one of the best little harbours in the country.

There have been a number of developments proposed in the Harbour Area recently, some of which have created a lot of conversation in the community. Any lasting development in this area needs to have a clear direction from the community, shaping the future and guiding any changes.

The Oamaru Harbour Area Masterplan will take a holistic view of the harbour and surrounding area and consider a range of options to ensure it remains a key community asset, both now and into the future. It will look at ways to protect what people see as special while allowing for future suitable development and commercial use. 

The Masterplan will act as a guiding document for future changes and development -including a set of principles that help filter ideas and proposals to ensure Oamaru continues to have one of the best little harbours in the country.


What does the community think?

Throughout November 2018 we carried out a community engagement process to help identify what people find special about the Harbour Area and where they see as its future. 

The survey asked three key questions: 

  1. What do you like the most about the Oamaru Harbour Area?
  2. What would you most like to see changed at the Oamaru Harbour Area?
  3. Looking ahead, in 30 years what do you want the Oamaru Harbour area to look like and how do you think it should function?

The engagement process had a huge response - all up Council received 887 survey responses, over 50 written and emailed contributions, and over 140 post it comments.

On top of this, we had a public information session with over 180 attendees, three public drop-in sessions throughout November, and visited schools and retirement homes.

All of the information we received from the community will directly inform the development of the Masterplan a is available below.


Early engagement results

To help you understand the results, we have produced an interactive tool that identifies the main themes found throughout the survey responses. This tool has the ability to dissect the results by demographics such as age, location and gender.

Some themes are universal among all demographics, while others are divided along with specific demographics groupings. 

For example, almost all demographics found the area’s tranquillity and charm the thing they liked the most about the area. However, looking at where respondents would like to see the area in 30 years’ time, there was a clear split between the under 50s and over 50s, with the younger demographic wanting to see it maintained and improved as a community asset, while the over 50s preferred that the area was left the way it is. 

This demographic split can be seen across gender, location age and a combination of all three, this can all be explored using this tool.

All of the other information we received is below


Key documents

Find the Current District Plan here. ​
Page reviewed: 05 Sep 2019 9:24am