Your Council

Improving Mahara Place

Artists impression of Plaza

Construction: 28 January - August 2019

Work is underway to make improvements to Mahara Place. We're creating a plaza where you can come together, enjoy and relax. There'll be a terraced area in the sunniest, most sheltered part of the plaza, reading gardens, and formal and informal seating areas. We’re working 7am-5pm on weekdays and will work some Saturdays. We’re planning to have the work finished by August 2019 as long as the weather plays ball.

This work's part of our  14-year programme of town centre improvements. We've worked 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.


W3a Mahara Place Masterplan


Construction work  

We’ve poured new concrete in front of the Library and removed the gazebo and temporary deck at the Sculpture Garden end of Mahara Place.

The temporary fencing around the whole site in the middle of Mahara Place has been installed.

The tree pit at the sculpture garden end has been demolished and we’ve started the excavation of the tree roots. We’ve found the tree roots are much wider and deeper than originally thought.

Next week we’ll continue to remove pavers and will demolish the tree pit at the Library end of Mahara Place. We’ll also be installing irrigation, drainage and water pipes.

Keeping people informed

Our ‘Open for business’ signage and information boards are now up and weekly updates are being posted in the Library windows.

Mahara Place businesses are using the ‘black board’ in the Library window to let you know the latest specials.



Pop-up library

With the Mahara Place improvement works well underway we’ve made the decision to re-locate the pop up library from its current location into the Mahara Gallery. From Monday 18 February the pop-up will be running from the smaller of the Gallery’s two exhibition spaces to provide a more pleasant environment for library-goers while the works are taking place. The pop-up will close its doors for the move on Wednesday 13 February. A big thanks to Mahara Gallery for making the space available while we investigate options for Waikanae library services in the long term.

Town centre parking

From Monday 11 February to Friday 15 February, Waitangi Tribunal Hearings will be held at Whakarongotai Marae in Waikanae. Around 200 people are expected to attend, which means there’ll be more people and traffic in the area, and it’s possible that parking could be limited.

Two rows of car parks outside the Marae will be reserved for the Marae and their attendees throughout the week of hearings. At the end of each day’s hearings car parks will be opened back up to the public. 

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

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 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 pagesign up to our weekly e-newsletter Everything Kāpiti and save this page to your favourites.


  • The Mahara Gallery redevelopment
  • 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.