Your Council

Improving Mahara Place

As part of our  14-year programme of town centre improvements, we've been working with the Mahara Place Development Committee, made up of local business and community representatives, to further develop designs that we made with the community in 2014 and 2016, to make sure they're fit-for-purpose.


Plans include a plaza with an open event space, gardens and areas for sitting and relaxing as well as new surfacing and lighting. The work aims to make Mahara Place more vibrant - a place where people want to go and spend time, that’s well connected to other areas of the town centre.

We recently held info days where people could come along and find out about the planned improvements, and the work we need to do to prepare the site, including the removal of two palm trees, and sprucing up the sculpture garden. If you couldn't make it, check out the vision for the area, the concepts and next steps on these display panels.

W3a Plaza


We hope to start construction in early-2019 but first we need to get the area ready.

Palm tree removal

After discussion with a tree arborist, designers, the Waikanae Community Board, and our Mahara Place Development Committee, we’ve made the decision to remove the two large palm trees from Mahara Place.

The trees will be removed and replaced with new planting that is better suited to the new and more open design of the space. This will help create a more welcoming, well-connected and inclusive space, where people can come to relax, socialise, sit and take shelter.

This was not an easy decision to make and a range of factors had to be taken into account. These are outlined in our tree removal questions and answers.

Sculpture garden

This will include sprucing up the sculpture garden in Mahara Place. We'll be working with the sculpture garden artists to make sure the pipes, pumps and pond area are in tip-top condition, so that the water fountain works properly, and the sculpture looks its best. 

We hope to finish this work on the sculpture garden before summer (depending on how much underground work's needed). 

Future improvements

As well as the plaza the development committee has been working on ideas for future improvements in Mahara Place, if further funding becomes available. Future plans include improvements to the laneways connecting the Marae to Mahara Place, Mahara Lane up to State Highway 1, a new playground and the entranceway by the Library.


The members of the Committee were nominated by the community board and include:

  • Jocelyn Prvanov - Waikanae Community Board representative
  • Sue Lusk (Destination Waikanae) – community representative
  • Graeme Joyes (Coast Access Radio) – community representative
  • Andrew Stroombergen (Waikanae Butchers) - community representative
  • Ann-Maree Ellison - Iwi Town Centre Working Group representative
  • Cullen Tran – youth representative

Council representatives include our urban designer, our head gardener, and our town centres project team.


For the upcoming stage of work, there's $1million available for improvements.

As part of the 2018 Long term plan process, our focus was on making sure we balance spending, and live within our financial constraints. We heard community concerns about affordability and put a strong focus on a financially sustainable approach and spending less to pay back more debt. The focus of the financial strategy is a reduced capital investment programme focused on infrastructure that supports resilience and agreed growth. By managing operating and capital expenditure at sustainable levels, borrowings and rates increases can be balanced while making sure the cost of major assets is spread over the time.

What this means for the Mahara Place is that originally, as part of the 2015 Long term plan, we had $1.5 million allocated for the Mahara Place improvements. As part of the 2018 Long term plan process, we deferred $500,000 of this money to financial years 26/27 and 27/28 to align with other town centre projects happening down the track.


To stay up-to-date with what’s happening in your town centre, follow our Facebook page, sign up to our weekly e-newsletter Everything Kāpiti and save this page to your favourites.


  • The Mahara Gallery redevelopment
  • Renovations for Waikanae Library
  • Stage 2 improvements to Frater Lane – work expected to be completed in conjunction with the Mahara Place work.
  • Stride n Ride projects – connecting the Expressway shared pathway to the Waikanae town centre
  • The NZ Transport Agency’s work to make the state highway a fit-for-purpose local road. For more information on this project, visit their website.