A strategic urban and public realm design refresh funded by the MBIE Covid19 Relief Fund.

Taupō is one of the North Island’s most-visited destinations for New Zealanders and international tourists. Playing host to dozens of events each year, and with a relatively small local population compared to the influx of visitors, ad hoc development of the town centre focussed around providing accommodation, and lacked a cohesive plan. Additionally, State Hwy 1 passed right through the heart of the town.

The 2010 East Taupō Arterial Bypass redirected freight and through traffic away from the lakeside, and provided the opportunity to reimagine the town centre as a place that celebrated local history, was people-centric, and better connected with the world-class landscape.



Worked with

Kingi Pitiroi
Delani Brown
Camex Civil

Project date

2020 - 2023


Bronze Award | Spatial Design - Private, Public and Institutional Spaces | Best of Awards - Designers Institute of New Zealand (DINZ)

The Taupō Town Centre Transformation programme is funded by MBIE COVID-19 Relief Fund. The project involves a strategic refresh of key elements of the existing 2011 Central and Industrial Structure Plan and developing an integrated framework for transport and urban design outcomes. Multiple packages of engineering and landscape architectural works are being delivered under a highly compressed and accelerated two year time-frame.

Changes to Tongariro Street, Spa Road and Titiraupenga Street reduced the amount of vehicles passing through the CBD making it safer for pedestrians and freeing space for retail and hospitality improvements and public space enhancements. The reduction of Tongariro Street to two lanes with a slower speed zone, along with improvements for pedestrians and cyclists, better connects the Domain with the town for events and recreation, and provides additional outdoor dining spaces.

The lakeside and middle blocks of Tongariro Street will be upgraded with lane reductions and a roundabout to facilitate smoother flow of traffic along Tongariro and Heuheu Streets. Stronger and safer links will be established between the town centre and the newly upgraded Warrior Mountains Playground – Te Papa Tākaro o Ngā Maunga Toa.

Tongariro Street will also get wider and higher-quality footpaths, additional dining spaces for cafes and restaurants, and new amenity planting. A new parkside shared path will run adjacent to the Domain, with more accessibility carparks on Tongariro Street and outside the library. This transforms Tongariro Street into a people-friendly precinct.

The transformation of Roberts Street and Lake Terrace into the new heart of Taupō began in June 2022, with the iconic lakefront area becoming a people-focused destination that enhances the physical connection and world-class views to Lake Taupō and the maunga beyond.

Roberts Street is to become a shared space zone, with vehicular traffic reduced to a one-way, slow-speed movement. The creation of large outdoor spaces will support increased hospitality and social activity, set under atmospheric lighting.

Lake Terrace will be a gathering space comprising large lawn and seating terraces, local native planting, lakefront lookout, walking promenades and shared path. The transformed lakefront will support Taupō’s identity as one of the tourism hubs of Aōtearoa – New Zealand.

Heritage and culture are embedded within the new design, emphasising the connections that the local people (tangata) have to the place (whenua). A large atea space with sculptural installations at the centre of Lake Terrace, traditionally carved pou, mauri stones and other features will shine light on the importance of Taupō and the strong values and associations held by Ngāti Tūwharetoa iwi to the land (whenua), local mountains (maunga), roto (Lake Taupō) and awa (Waikatō River) and tributaries. This will add a deeper dimension to the Taupō Town Centre Transformation.