Part B: Our work in detail

Pāpori me te hākinakina
Social and recreation

We aim for strong and healthy communities.



Our focus in this area is on recreation provision, social initiatives and community support, and public health and safety. People are at the heart of everything we do, from providing shelter and support to our most vulnerable residents to investing in infrastructure such as halls and sportsgrounds for the community. We try to make sure people have access to services and activities that contribute to opportunities for them to live healthy lifestyles, realise their potential, and enjoy their city.

In this section

This section includes what’s changing since we released Our 10-Year Plan, other key projects coming up, key performance measures and what it costs. There are three groups of activities in this section:

5.1 Recreation promotion and support.

5.2 Community support.

5.3 Public health and safety.


Snapshot. 1.2 million swimming pool visits per year. 2.4 million physical visits to libraries. 79% people agree Wellington offers a wide range of recreation activities. 76% people who feel safe in the city centre after dark. 94% City Housing tenants satisfied with services and facilities.

What we do – an overviewTop

What’s changing and whyTop

Arlington development: Last year when we adopted Our 10-Year Plan, we signalled that we would investigate opportunities to partner with other agencies – including housing providers, developers and central government – to deliver more affordable housing in Wellington. The Arlington apartments, in Mt Cook, are made up of three sites and form the Council’s largest social housing area. The majority of the site was deemed no longer fit-for-purpose and most of the homes on site 1 have stood empty for a period of time.

In 2019 the Council entered into an agreement with Housing New Zealand Corporation (HNZC) for the development of Arlington sites 1 and 3. Under this agreement we would enter into a 125 year lease of the sites to HNZC who would be responsible for the redevelopment, social housing service management, funding and maintenance of the sites. The redevelopment would see the currently rundown sites improved to provide a mix of modern, social, affordable and supported-living homes, with good connections to the surrounding community and facilities. This agreement will result in an improved level of service for social housing tenants in Wellington at little or no cost to ratepayers. 

Our 10-Year Plan will be amended to include the italicised paragraph above in Part D: Statements of Service Provision, the amended plan can be found on

Alex Moore Sports Hub: Council has been working with Alex Moore Park Sport and Community Incorporated (AMPSCI) regarding the development of a sporting hub at Alex Moore Park in Johnsonville, which will be used by several sports and community groups. The Council will manage the build over two years. The total cost to build the hub is $4.2 million of which the group will contribute $2 million.

Community Housing support: Aligned to our goal of ensuring all Wellingtonians are well housed, we will be supporting a community housing provider, Dwell Housing Trust, to deliver 14 housing units in Kilbirnie. Dwell aims to provide safe, secure and comfortable homes for people who are in need or are on a low income. When they have vacancies, Dwell currently takes applications from the Ministry of Social Development’s Social Housing Register. This allows the allocation of housing vacancies to those most in need. We will provide a grant of $60,400 to cover the development contribution associated with this development. This will be funded from prior year surplus so will not affect the 2019/20 rates requirement.

Wellington City Library: On 19 March 2019 we made the decision to close the Central Library after receiving advice from engineers that the building has structural vulnerabilities which means it may not perform well in a significant earthquake event. The footpath around the Library building and the public car park has also been closed. The Library will be closed until further notice, as we start to investigate options and make some decisions about what approach we take to repairs.

A small network of ‘pop-up’ sites in the CBD is planned to meet the service gap, supported by a warehouse to store and enable access to items.

The overall financial impact of the closure on operational expenditure, including lost revenue from the basement carpark and the café tenancy, is $3.6 million per year. In addition we will need to invest an additional $6.0 million of capital expenditure on fitting out pop-up and warehouse solutions.

Due to the timing of the closure in relation to the annual planning cycle, Council has agreed to debt fund the net additional expenditure in 2019/20 and budget for this additional expenditure through the next annual and long-term plans.

Our work programme in 2019/20Top

Waitohi: Johnsonville’s new Waitohi community hub is on track and budget (total budget is $22.5 million), and due for completion in Summer 2019/20. The kindergarten is scheduled to open in August ahead of the new library, café and reception for the swimming pool. There will also be a link through to Memorial Park, the library and a new swimming pool entrance. For updates on this project, see our engagement site

Newtown and Aro Valley Community centre upgrades: Community facilities help bring people together. They strengthen communities and provide a platform to deliver the activities and services that contribute to community wellbeing. The interior upgrades of the Newtown and Aro Valley community centres are currently in the design phase, with construction set to begin in 2019/20 at a budget cost of $3.9 million.

Homelessness and supported living: Driven by Te Mahana, our Homelessness Strategy, we will be supporting several organisations in an effort to end homelessness, making it rare, brief and non-reoccurring. In 2019/20 these organisations include:

These initiatives strongly align with and support the Central Government’s Housing First programme, which is designed to house people quickly then provide intense wraparound support for people who have been chronically homeless. The Council also grants support for emergency and transitional housing services, such as the Wellington Night Shelter and the Wellington Homeless Women’s Trust.

Karori Events Centre: The Karori Events Centre is a community-driven project which has resulted in the building of an events centre within the hub of community facilities in Karori. The hub includes the community centre, library and recreation centre.

The centre has been constructed and will provide an inviting venue where people can pursue their interests and connect with the community in a welcoming, inclusive and safe environment. However, the centre is still to be fitted out before it can become operational. The Trust has estimated that the full cost of the fit-out is expected to be $1.1 million, as per a 2016 estimate.

Council officers will work with the Karori Events Trust in the coming months to discuss possible options and opportunities that would assist the Trust to complete the construction and fit-out of the facility. Council will also work with the trust to progress a plan to enable the future sustainable operation of the Centre.

Basin Reserve: The Basin Reserve is ranked among the world’s top 10 cricket venues, and is known as one of New Zealand’s most picturesque and historic cricket grounds. Substantial progress has been made on upgrading the ground with the RA Vance stand, terraces, scoreboards and players pavilion now completed. Work will focus on completing the strengthening and restoration of the Museum Stand in 2019/20 at a total cost of $7.7 million. The capital investment from Council will be $6.7 million, with a $1 million contribution from The Basin Reserve Trust.

Looking aheadTop

Newlands community park development: During 2019/20, planning work will begin on improving Newlands Park, which will include investment in a community play space. Investment of $3.6 million of capital expenditure is budgeted to make improvements to the park, beginning in 2020/21. Altogether, $1.5 million of the required funding will be allocated from the Plimmer Trust.

What it costsTop

2019/20 Annual Plan $000
Operating expenditure 144,337
Capital expenditure 36,214

Measuring our performanceTop

We use performance measures to track how well we are delivering services against targets. The following represents the groups of measures we have for each group of activities. For details of individual performance measures and targets, see Detailed performance information in Part D: Appendices.

We also have outcome indicators to monitor progress toward desired results for the city. These indicators are at least partly out of our control. For these indicators, please refer to Our 10-Year Plan on our website,

Rationale What we measure Activities
5.1 Recreation promotion and support
  • To encourage active and healthy lifestyles.
  • To enable participation in sporting and other group activities.
  • For social cohesion and connectedness.
  • High quality experience.
  • Utilisation.
  • Affordability.
  • City recreation promotion.
  • Basin Reserve Trust performance (9 measures).
  • 5.1.1 Swimming pools.
  • 5.1.2 Sportsfields.
  • 5.1.3 Recreation programmes.
  • 5.1.4 Recreation centres.
  • 5.1.5 Recreation partnerships.
  • 5.1.6 Playgrounds.
  • 5.1.7 Marinas.
  • 5.1.8 Golf course.
5.2 Community Support
  • To foster diverse and inclusive communities.
  • To enable people to connect with information and with each other.
  • Libraries experience, utilisation, amenity, and affordability.
  • Community centres utilisation.
  • Community advocacy.
  • Funding success.
  • Housing quality and usage.
  • Housing upgrade project.
  • 5.2.1 Libraries.
  • 5.2.2 Access support (Leisure Card).
  • 5.2.3 Community advocacy.
  • 5.2.4 Grants (social and recreation).
  • 5.2.5 Social housing.
  • 5.2.6 Community centres and halls.
5.3 Public health and safety
  • To maintain health standards.
  • To help people feel safe.
  • Efficiency.
  • Timeliness.
  • Hygiene standard.
  • 5.3.1 Burials cremations.
  • 5.3.2 Public toilets.
  • 5.3.3 Public health regulations.
  • 5.3.4 City safety.
  • 5.3.5 Wellington Regional Emergency Management Office (WREMO).