Our Story

SmartGrowth was launched in 2000 when leaders in the western Bay of Plenty recognised the need to work together to positively shape the future of our sub-region.

A joint committee was formed in 2001 comprising representatives from each of the local authorities and tāngata whenua with the purpose of working in partnership and drafting a sub-regional growth management plan. The Strategy was officially launched by the Prime Minister in May 2004 and subsequently adopted by the partners.

A SmartGrowth Implementation Committee was established in 2004. Today, SmartGrowth is governed by the SmartGrowth Leadership Group. In 2020, Central Government joined the SmartGrowth partnership as part of the Urban Growth Agenda.

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About SmartGrowth

SmartGrowth sets the strategic vision and direction for the growth and development of the western Bay of Plenty sub-region. SmartGrowth is a collaboration that has been working successfully for the past 20 plus years, leading the way nationally in integrated sub-regional planning and strategic thinking.

SmartGrowth is an Urban Growth Partnership under the Government’s Urban Growth Agenda. The figure below illustrates the SmartGrowth structure. Its aim is to connect the spaces and places that create great communities. It does this by providing a unified vision, direction and voice for the future of the western Bay of Plenty with a focus on developing the sub-region as a great place to live, learn, work and play.

SmartGrowth Structure

The SmartGrowth Journey

SmartGrowth is in the process of updating the 2013 Strategy. Over the last decade a number of initiatives have occurred that now feed into the SmartGrowth Strategy 2023. This is illustrated below along with the level of consultation and engagement that has occurred.

The SmartGrowth Leadership Group

The SmartGrowth leadership group (SLG) is made up of representatives from the three partner councils, Tauranga City Council, Western Bay District Council, Bay of Plenty Regional Council,  tāngata whenua and central government. As the governance body for SmartGrowth, the SLG has an important role to play in driving strategy implementation, developing new plans as well as guiding and supporting the SmartGrowth partnership.

The SLG meet typically every 2 to 3 months. The agendas are available one week before the meeting is scheduled to be held.

Agendas/Minutes Meetings

Tāngata Whenua

Tāngata whenua are one of the four key foundation partners to the SmartGrowth partnership at a governance level, and management level through the Combined Tāngata Whenua Forum (CTWF) and Tū Pakari Advisors.

The CTWF is a joint forum comprising representatives from the two Western Bay of Plenty District Council Forums (Te Kāhui Mana o Tauranga Moana and Te Ihu o Te Waka o Te Arawa) as well as Te Rangapū Mana Whenua o Tauranga Moana Forum at Tauranga City Council.

Supporting the CTWF are the two SmartGrowth Tū Pakari Advisors. They are engaged annually to provide strategic and technical advice and support to the CTWF and partner agencies as well as the four tāngata whenua governance representatives currently appointed to the SmartGrowth Leadership Group (SLG).

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How SmartGrowth works
with its Partners

SmartGrowth is responsible for developing and implementing plans and strategies, and recommending these to the SmartGrowth partners, as well as monitoring and undertaking reviews.

SmartGrowth's role is also to provide leadership on the sub-region’s spatial planning, growth, infrastructure planning and development. Cultural, economic, social and environmental matters are also considered in the context of spatial planning and growth management.

This means SmartGrowth is focused on supporting decisions around Council spatial, long-term and district plans.

Upcoming key projects

SmartGrowth has a focussed work programme which contains priorities around housing, tāngata whenua, transport, priority development areas, and planning and policy – in particular the SmartGrowth Strategy 23. The transport component largely falls under the Transport System Plan. The work programme has been prioritised and is reported on regularly through the SmartGrowth structures. There are two key pieces of work currently underway which are described in more detail below.

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