Development of a new library and council office space and public space in Napier City Centre.

The landscape concept for Te Aka builds upon a series of documents and plans that set the strategic vision for the Precinct; including the 2021 Ahuriri/Napier Library and Civic Area Plan, which Boffa Miskell led in collaboration with Athfield Architects and Jacob Scott. 

Boffa Miskell is the Landscape Architecture lead for the project, responsible for site planning, integration with the wider context and design of external spaces. We are also providing CPTED (Crime Prevention through Environmental Design) advice.

The Ahuriri Napier Library and Civic Area Plan established the spatial framework for the public space, including connections to the surrounding context and opportunities for activities/programming. The landscape concept uses the Area Plan as a starting point. The Te Aka precinct is set within the block bounded by Hastings, Station and Dalton Streets.


Hawkes Bay

Worked with

Athfield Architects
Dunning Thornton
Israel Birch leading the Mana Whenua design team
The Building Intelligence Group

Project date

2022 - ongoing

There are a range of open spaces in proximity to Te Aka that provide for both active and passive recreation. Te Aka has the potential to compliment, rather than duplicate existing open spaces, anchoring the south of the town centre.

The landscape concept has been developed through a co-design process, based around a series of wānanga hosted by Mana Whenua partners in marae across Ahuriri. Through this process, the name Te Aka was gifted to the project, becoming both the project name and the foundational concept.

Four foundational concepts were developed in collaboration with mana whenua. These concepts are interwoven and build upon each other; and will be expressed through the landscape design. 

RŪAUMOKO: Reveal the story of the earthquake uplift, Rūaumoko as the creator of land. Expression of natural topography - the change in level across the site as it transitions down from the shingle spit.

TE NGĀHERE O TANGAROA: Express the forest of Tangaroa, the raised sea floor and the life that is supported. The character of two ecosystems shaped by contrasting environments: the coastal edge, rough and exposed with salt laden winds, and the sheltered, abundant landscape of Te Whanganui-o-Orotū.

WAI: Protect and cleanse water, make visible the water cycle. Express the different forms of wai, the interconnection between land, sea and sky. These are expressed as Te Wai-a-Rangi and Te Wai-a-Nuku. Wai-tai - the saline water of the Te Moananui-a-Kiwa. Wai-ora - the reflective ‘living’ water of Te Whanganui-a-Orotū that supports abundant life.

TE AKA: A journey of learning - a landscape that encourages discovery and exploration, embedded with meaning, to tell stories about people and place. Pockets of space that invite the whole community to meet and spend time, kōrero, wānanga, play and connect. 

The landscape includes a terraced public space with places to gather, read, and host community events. There are laneways that connect to Marine Parade, the waterfront and the town centre. Conceptually the space expresses the creation of the whenua, which was once the seafloor of Te Whanganui-a-Orotū that was lifted by Rūaumoko during the 1931 earthquake. A stepped transition from east to west, reveals the underlying landscape from the gravel spit that protects Ahuriri from the ocean to the sheltered, lower-lying land of the former estuary. 

Te Aka will be a place where visitors and the people of Napier/Ahuriri can relax, learn, play, work, engage and connect. It will be an enabling space where everybody wants to be, that anchors and brings life to the southern area of Napier City Centre.