WILD about Wanaka

### ODT Online Sat, 14 Aug 2010
Developments dismay landscape architect
By Matthew Haggart
As residential subdivisions in Wanaka continue to expand the town’s boundaries, the approach of some developers has saddened the Queenstown Lakes District Council’s top landscape consultant. Dr Marion Read, the chief landscape architect at QLDC’s regulatory authority Lake Environmental, says major earthworks associated with some Wanaka developments are destroying parts of the landscape’s most distinctive features.
Read more


### ODT Online Sat, 14/08/2010 – 10:14pm.
Comment by qksmith on Landscape Issues
While I am the first to be critical of landscape issues in the district, I think we have to accept that where land is zoned for LDR that we are dealing with a highly modified environment.
Read more

LDR = Low Density Residential


Don’t mind my aportioning blame, rightly or wrongly it’s a considered opinion…more like a bad reaction. Of course, Dunedin isn’t free of sprawl at the hands of some people active in Wanaka.

### ODT Online Sun, 15/08/2010 – 6:52pm.
Comment by ej kerr on Wanaka is sprawl

Being an experienced planner or not is hardly relevant when the adverse cumulative effects of house building are totalled for the Wanaka district landscape.

I fully support the comments, as reported, of Dr Marion Read.

My most recent visit to Wanaka two days ago has again reinforced how inadequate the local district plan is to counter unwarranted housing sprawl.

Half the battle might be with the drive of property owners to create (uncritically) an acontextual, uncompromising slice of suburbia in the extraordinarily picturesque, wild and weathered countryside.

Developers of the subdivisions (a small group of influential citizens whom we know by name), like the property owners, are equally uncritical of the environmental impacts of the sprawl they foster, and derive their not inconsiderable profits from.

This hedonistic activity – speculative building – which does not spring from best practice in landscape architecture, architecture (by registered architects), or sustainable environmental design – is supported (‘controlled’) by an ineffectually dull, unresponsive fabric of arbitrary local authority ‘planning’ decisions (zone rules) constraining the use of colour, gables, materials, height plane angles, non reflective surfaces, bulk and location, density et al.

The result is an impoverished sameness, an unspeakably heavy dreariness in the now over-built environment. An eyesore almost without end that submerges/denies the incredible three-dimensional topographical variances of the natural landscape. It might be expensive, it might be what the market demands, it might be what the bulldozer invites, but this is dumbed down contemporary building development at its illogical worst.

The full battle most probably rests with ‘regional planning’ education and professional practice development in New Zealand that is rather too dependent on quasi-legal/legal experiment with the RMA clause and bland generalities of rural zoning – without mandatory professionally accredited multi-disciplinary training in contextual design processes and environmental sustainability.

The collective forces suburbanising Wanaka should be halted. This is not sustainable.

A moratorium, a re-think. District intelligence must be raised for the stewardship and protection of landscape values, inviting informed sympathetic design responses for the making of comfortable ‘dwelling place’…there should be no need for hackles and loss of hair with each visit to Wanaka.

This is a district for smart design, not stuffy inert planning that expects less of the development community than it has to give.

Elizabeth Kerr, Dunedin

Post by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Architecture, Construction, Design, Economics, Geography, Heritage, Politics, Project management, Site, Town planning, Urban design

8 responses to “WILD about Wanaka

  1. Peter

    Personally, I have never understood why people ‘who want to get away from it all’, with a ‘crib’ in Wanaka, end up living in a new, sprawling suburb. A lot of the ‘Look at Me’ developments are vulgar. All symptomatic of lost values of simplicity and not being hooked on materialism. Oh well…. you can’t stop progress, I suppose.

  2. Calvin Oaten

    Michael Guest loves it. So much so that he tricked a lot of his creditors into paying for his privilege.

  3. Russell Garbutt

    Wanaka has gone the way that Queenstown went years ago and now its spread to Albert Town. Seems like when a town gets over a certain critical mass then “progress” is inevitable. At a certain point all of a sudden there is “room” for a dentist, another school, some tradespeople. For years Wanaka was clearly just a place for a holiday crib but now its permanent population is way over the critical mass.

    Does anyone know what that critical mass is and whether other factors such as location comes into it? I guess things like Dunedin’s aging population and their desire to shift to somewhere where their friends have already gone to?

    At the other end of the scale, we happened to ride through Tuapeka Mouth yesterday, and clearly the town had gone under that critical mass. Sad to see a place looking so forlorn.

  4. Elizabeth

    Hell, WILD Wanaka is such a fine place for its erstwhile community planning excellence – in amongst the cul-de-sacs and architectural competitiveness, the speculator GOBs forgot the tendency to wrinkle, fade and diminish after a few ski seasons and fishing in retirement. *Shame

    ### ODT Online Wed, 28 Jan 2015
    Lack of aged care forces elderly out
    By Lucy Ibbotson
    A shortage of aged care services in Wanaka is driving elderly residents out of town and a new facility to meet increasing demand is still 18 months away from opening. […] New Zealand’s ageing population, coupled with Wanaka’s popularity with retirees, played a big part in the problem. A recent survey of 72 older people in the Upper Clutha noted the number of those in the region aged over 65 increased 17.7% in the 2011-12 year, compared with the New Zealand increase of 4.5%.
    Read more

  5. Hype O'Thermia

    Wanaka – for too-cool-for-Mosgiel retirees
    Every town needs its slogan, right?.

  6. Elizabeth

    The best Southern example of UNADULTERATED SPRAWL

    Fri, 3 Jun 2016
    ODT: ‘Clean’ new logo for Wanaka
    A new brand and logo to promote Wanaka in the tourism world was unveiled by Lake Wanaka Tourism last night. It is simply: Wanaka NZ.
    Gone is the old “protected – the world’s first lifestyle reserve”, ousted during a six-month review costing the organisation $15,000.

    Or the powers could’ve picked this one, from a clear-sighted contributor to What if? Dunedin (the sender is very welcome to declare their authorship):

    New Wanaka logo-[converted file]

  7. Gurglars

    During a period of planning madness, Central Otago banned the use iof Oamaru stone as a building material. The beautiful white stone tending to beige can look stunning in an Alpine environment, but the bureaucrateers got rid of it in favour of black crappy looking cedar. Consequently the famous Jacks Point now looks like a Wisconsin milling town gone wrong. But what could one expect from a development that the DCC through Delta had a hand in. All of the worst aspects of a bureaucracy are exampled in the Decisions of the Lake District council.

  8. Elizabeth

    Wed, 25 Jan 2017
    ODT Editorial: Wanaka as another Queenstown
    OPINION The Wanaka boom is being seen in two distinct ways. There are those excited by development and buzz, by expansion and new facilities and opportunities. That has been the New Zealand way. Bigger is better, growth is grand. Even centres under acute pressure from rapid population increases – think Auckland or Queenstown – have promotion budgets. […] Then there are those who lament the lost ambience of a small town where most “permanents” know most others, where traffic always flows easily and where parking is easy, where urban sprawl does not spill over their vistas, walks and bike rides. For Wanaka, however, choice in the matter seems to be disappearing. The town has astonishing momentum that little, outside serious world economic woes, can stop. Cont/

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s