The Parnell Plan

The Parnell Plan – a 30 year plan for Auckland’s First Suburb

The Parnell Plan provides direction and actions for the next 30 years to ensure Parnell continues to be a fantastic place to live, work, play and do business in the future. It presents the local board, council and community’s vision for the area, key objectives, strategies and a set of actions to achieve the objectives.  

The development of the Parnell Plan was sponsored by the Waitematā Local Board in collaboration with a working group of key community stakeholders over a series of workshops and meetings held locally in Parnell during 2018. This is in addition to input, meetings and workshops with relevant staff from council and council-controlled organisation stakeholders. The Parnell Plan Working Group included representatives from the following local groups and organisations:- Parnell Business Association, Parnell Community Committee, Parnell Trust, Parnell District School, Parnell Heritage, The Auckland War Memorial Museum, Holy Trinity Cathedral and the Blind Foundation. Local youth representatives and mana whenua were also involved in the process.

A consultation document was prepared and approved by the local board in May 2018, for the purpose of community engagement which took place in June last year. The feedback received was analysed and key themes identified. This in turn informed the development of a final implementation strategy and plan that outlines immediate, and short to long term actions. Some are funded, most are currently unfunded or aspirational, requiring further investigation or waiting to be prioritised in order to happen.

This plan however provides the impetus for the council and the community to join together to achieve longer-term transformational changes and projects in and for Parnell.

The vision for Parnell over the next 30 years is:

Auckland’s First Suburb: A thriving, creative, and collaborative community that celebrates its unique natural, cultural and historic environment

The five objectives for Parnell are:

  • Promote Parnell as an innovative and creative place to work, live, visit and do business
  • Enhance connectivity and accessibility within Parnell and with its neighbouring places
  • Enable the community to use and enjoy its great places and spaces
  • Value, protect and enhance Parnell’s natural environment
  • Respect, recognise and protect Parnell’s historic and cultural heritage and character

Five key action areas have been identified for the Parnell Plan. These are priority locations where investment in mainly physical and environmental improvements can achieve transformational change. They focus directly on achieving the vision and objectives for Parnell and are as follows:

  • Make Parnell Station a key gateway to Parnell and the Domain
  • Realise the Waipapa Greenway
  • Reinforce the core of Parnell town centre as the heart of Parnell
  • Revitalise the St Georges Bay Road warehouses area
  • Enhance key east-west links and realise the Parnell Parks Link Greenway

Realise the Waipapa Greenway

Parnell train station is an important gateway to Parnell, Auckland Domain and surrounding areas. The station itself is a heritage building and can be utilised for a range of activities including visitor information. Ensuring effective and attractive connections to and from the station are critical for Parnell to flourish and for enhancing accessibility between Parnell and the Domain. 

The Waipapa Greenway, or rail trail, in the valley between Parnell and the Domain is a unique opportunity for Auckland. With the lively Waipapa Stream continuing to flow, the valley is strategically and historically significant. There are opportunities to create walking and cycling pathways and connections next to the rail line, utilising the potential of a disused 320 metre-long historic rail tunnel, and re-establishing better access between Parnell and the Domain.

Reinforce the core of Parnell town centre as the heart of Parnell

The heart of Parnell is the historic town centre. Full of character, the centre requires revitalisation to encourage greater use and to further establish Heard Park and its surrounds as a key community place within the centre and for Parnell. The north-south road transport corridor should be managed and improved to ensure that Parnell centre is people-friendly, safe, and integrates different transport modes well. Streetscape and amenity improvements in the centre and its surrounding local streets, including flexible repurposing of these streets, needs to reflect Parnell’s identity, with recreational and play improvements being part of a transformed Heard Park. 

Revitalise the St Georges Bay Road warehouses area

The northern half of St Georges Bay Road was once a busy wharf warehouse area for the port. It has great historic and architectural character, and is transforming into a bustling creative and design-related business precinct. Improving the function and design of the distinctive street environment will help create high amenity and more people-friendly spaces. It will complement ongoing investment in building refurbishment and development, and the presence of artistic, design and innovative businesses and education hubs. 


Looking to the future, Parnell faces both challenges and opportunities to capitalise on its excellent attributes and ensure it remains a desirable place to work, live, play and visit, as well as a prosperous place in which to do business.
A draft 30-year plan for Auckland’s First Suburb has was released mid 2018 and went out for public consultation until the 29th June 2019.
It highlighted key aspects as noted below.

Parnell has an enviable setting, located between The Domain and the Waitematā and is one of the gateways to the City Centre. 

It is surrounded by some of Auckland’s key attractions such as The Domain and Auckland Museum, Holy Trinity Cathedral, Parnell Rose Gardens, ASB and Spark Arena, but many of these are not within direct access routes, plus none of them feed the retail strip.

In addition the area is challenged by topography, man made barriers such as motorways and lack of East/West connectivity.

Reducing the impact of these barriers and looking for opportunities to better connect Parnell to its surroundings is key to promoting the movement of people ad connecting business and tourism opportunities.

The five supporting objectives shown below should not be seen in isolation but as working together to deliver the overall vision for Parnell.

Objective 1 highlights the following strategies 

  • Strengthen Parnell’s role as a prominent centre and improve the appeal to visitors, locals and existing and potential business owners
  • Build on Parnell’s reputation as a destination for arts, culture, learning and creative enterprise
  • Realise the potential of Parnell train station
  • Encourage all development to respect Parnell’s unique identity
  • Encourage creative and innovative use of underutilised space
  • Support sustainable business and employment

Objective 2 highlights the following strategies 

  • Better connect Parnell to its surroundings including Auckland Domain and the Museum, the Waitematā, Newmarket and the city centre
  • Better connect Parnell from West to East; linking Carlaw Park, the Domain, Parnell Station, Parnell Road and St Georges Bay Road through to Judges and Hobson Bays
  • Improve safety, amenity, and accessibility for pedestrians, cyclists and other users throughout Parnell

Objective 3 highlights the following strategies 

  • Ensure our outdoor spaces are safer, well used and integrate with their surroundings
  • Ensure that we continue to maintain accessible community services that reflect ongoing community needs
  • Link parks, community facilities, school and learning facilities together to form an integrated network of services
  • Promote flexible use of our spaces, streets and facilities for our community
  • Support community collaboration, initiatives and events for our diverse communities

Objective 4 highlights the following strategies 

  • Enhance and restore our streams, waterways and bays
  • Enhance biodiversity through predator control and by planting appropriate vegetation, in particular, native vegetation
  • Encourage greater collaboration between local government, mana whenua, land owners and the community to protect and restore our natural environment

Objective 5 highlights the following strategies 

  • Celebrate our collective stories, our heritage places and their contribution to our identity
  • Ensure that Parnell’s Māori heritage is visible and shared and cultural landscapes and taonga are respected
  • Encourage new development to embrace and enhance our existing heritage environment
  • Support the protection, restoration and adaptation, where appropriate, of heritage buildings
If you would like to make comment on any of the above strategies, or suggest any other objectives or strategies that should be included in the Parnell Plan Consultation Document, please submit your feedback before the 29th June.

The consultation document was sponsored by Waitematā Local Board and developed in collaboration with a working group of key stakeholders