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SmartGrowth is the spatial plan for the western Bay of Plenty sub-region.

A spatial plan is a comprehensive, long term strategy which connects people, places and activities.

SmartGrowth Map


SmartGrowth sets the strategic vision and direction for the growth and development of the western Bay, on key issues across the spectrum of social, environmental, economic and cultural objectives.  SmartGrowth is a mechanism to harness the collective impact of local government, iwi, business, central Government agencies, key industries and the community.  It provides a shared pathway to guide us all toward a single vision - making the western Bay a great place to live, learn, work and play.

Who is SmartGrowth

SmartGrowth is a collaboration between Tauranga City CouncilWestern Bay of Plenty District Council, Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Tangata Whenua working in partnership with central Government (particularly the NZTA), businesses, education groups, industry and the community.

The 'SmartGrowth Partnership' refers to an alliance between local and territorial authorities and tangata whenua.  However SmartGrowth is wider than local government.  The strength of the Strategy is in large part due to the proactive role of community and strategic partners.  The partnership is heavily dependent on a range of Government and non-Government agencies and community groups to help with implementation. The diagram below provides an overview of all the different groups that contribute to the strength of the SmartGrowth Strategy and its implementation.

Strength of SmartGrowth Thumbnail

What anchors SmartGrowth

SmartGrowth has been founded on 5 key pillars which underpin the Strategy and its implementation.

SmartGrowth PillarsDescription
Partnership The SmartGrowth partnership has fostered a unique approach based on developing good relationships, building trust, and advancing a new way of working together.
Collaborative Leadership Collaborative leadership is about recognising that the western Bay community needs to plan together as a sub-region, rather than as separate authorities and districts.
Integration An integrated approach to planning is a fundamental component of the SmartGrowth Strategy.
Evidence Based Research SmartGrowth takes an evidence-based approach to strategy  development and implementation. A significant amount of research underpins the Strategy.
Live, learn, work, and play The concept of live, learn, work AND play is anchored in the SmartGrowth Strategy and Settlement Pattern and emphasises the need for balance within the management of growth.

Where is SmartGrowth?

The SmartGrowth area covers the western part of the Bay of Plenty region, referred to as the western Bay or the sub-region.  The sub-region extends from Waihi Beach in the north to Ōtamarākau (east of Pukehina). It is bounded by the Kaimai range in the west and the  Pacific Ocean in the east.

The total area of the sub-region is 2289 km2. It takes in all the land within the administrative areas of the Tauranga City and the Western Bay of Plenty District and includes that part of the administrative area of Bay of Plenty Regional Council as it relates to the City and District as well as the relevant portion of the Coastal Marine Area. View area in Map 3 (9MB, pdf).

Why was SmartGrowth established?

SmartGrowth 2004 was primarily a response to the demands of rapid population growth. In 2001, 135 people each week were coming to live in western Bay and putting enormous pressure on the inadequate infrastructure in both urban and rural areas.

SmartGrowth established a single blueprint for growth "The Settlement Pattern" which covered the whole of the western Bay and identified the future growth areas as well as the infrastructure and funding requirements to enable their development.

SmartGrowth 2013 has evolved from a growth management plan into a spatial plan which involves the community and includes aspirations and actions across all the wellbeings and multiple stakeholders.  It is a mechanism to harness the collective impact of local government, iwi, business, central Government agencies, key industries and the community. It provides a shared pathway to guide us all towards a single vision - making western Bay a great place to live, learn, work and play.

A spatial plan requires all the agencies and organisations in the area not only to sign up to the vision and direction but also to be involved in the implementation of the actions. In this respect there has been an expansion of the traditional SmartGrowth partnership from the 3 Councils and tangata whenua to greater involvement of communities and other agencies outside of local government.

The Value of SmartGrowth

SmartGrowth is a vehicle for the western Bay of Plenty to:

  • Address issues collaboratively and present one strong, united voice outside the western Bay, including to central Government and adjoining districts and regions.
  • Advocate collectively on agreed issues and directions gaining a strength that is greater than the sum of the individual parts, including advocacy for a range of matters beyond the traditional role of local authorities.
  • Use a single framework and blueprint that transcends jurisdictional boundaries and is implemented through regional, city and district planning documents and through community groups and non-government agencies; promoting more streamlined and efficient planning processes and decision making.
  • Establish an integrated and agreed growth management framework for the western Bay, facilitating the efficient and effective provision of infrastructure and providing certainty for public and private investment.
  • Obtain quality evidence to inform decision making and ensure central Government, non-government agencies, local authorities and community groups all have access to uniform data to plan and act collectively
  • Establish strong partnerships with tangata whenua through the Combined Tangata whenua Forum and enable tangible involvement in decision making.
  • Establish strong partnerships with the community through the SmartGrowth Partners network which ensures involvement with the Strategy implementation, monitoring and reviews.
  • Contribute to a better understanding of the social needs of the communities within the western Bay and align with key central Government priorities in the social arena.
  • Assist with creating linkages to neighbouring sub-regions and regions.



Managing growth in the western Bay of Plenty

Tauranga City Council - Western Bay of Plenty District CouncilBay of Plenty Regional Council - Tangata whenua

Teacher Resources
Smartgrowth Teachers Resource