Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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The Wellington Waterfront and Tourism Development: Planning Process and Legislative Framework

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posted on 2021-11-10, 08:29 authored by Nguyen, Thi Hong Hanh

Over the last two decades, the redevelopment of the Wellington waterfront has become one of the most contested urban development projects in New Zealand, with the involvement of many varied interests. There have been a number of changes in planning, development concepts, rules, and regulations in order to manage its ongoing redevelopment. However, many development projects on the waterfront have been delayed and cancelled. It might be argued that regulatory and plan changes may be influencing the progress of this redevelopment. However, to date, no one has explored this relationship. Therefore, this study is aimed at filling this gap by using the Wellington waterfront as a case study and focusing on tourism development, the planning process, and the legislative framework surrounding this redevelopment. Its objectives were: (1) to explore the role of tourism in the redevelopment of the Wellington waterfront; (2) to identify the key players involved in the waterfront redevelopment, and specify their involvement and influence on planning and decision-making processes; and (3) to define the existing legislative framework for this redevelopment and examine the way in which it impacts tourism development in this area. This study adopted a qualitative research method. Data in this study was collected from a wide range of documents relevant to the Wellington waterfront and through face-to-face and semi-structured in-depth interviews. 18 representatives from local authorities, waterfront organisations, tourism entities, as well as urban planners, developers, community groups, and property owners were interviewed. Data triangulation was used in data analysis to validate and deepen the findings. The study found that tourism was not recognised as one of the key driving forces of the redevelopment of Wellington waterfront as a whole, although within specific development proposals tourism has been used as a rationale to support these developments. This suggested that to a certain extent tourism was considered in this redevelopment. In this research, while Wellington City Council (WCC) and its controlled entities were identified as the key players influencing the planning and decision making process, the involvement of the public may also play an important role in slowing down this redevelopment. There was firm agreement among participants about the impact of legislative framework on this redevelopment. This study found that there is a legislative framework within which the waterfront redevelopment works. However, the legislative framework tends to impact specific developments rather the waterfront redevelopment as a whole. Several implications and recommendations arise from this study, including the need of continuing research on impact of legislative framework on tourism from a legal perspective. Additionally, it is recommended that the extent to which legislative framework accommodates tourism should be emphasised in understanding its impact.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Tourism Management

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Tourism Management

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

Victoria Management School


Pearce, Douglas; Yeoman, Ian