Neighbourhood case study: Petone

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  • Hutt City
  • higher density, mixed use, older neighbourhood
  • rated a high sustainability neighbourhood by both Observational Tool and Resident Self-Report Tool

Key positives

Key negatives

  • Good walking environment
  • Good range of services available locally.
  • Good bus service available
  • Very diverse neighbourhood
  • Some affordable housing present
  • Residents mainly use local services and most access these by walking
  • High level of casual interaction among neighbours
  • Lack of pedestrian crossings on The Esplanade
  • No high school nearby
  • Majority of residents felt that fast moving traffic was a problem that made walking unsafe



The neighbourhood started out 100 years ago as relatively low cost workers’ housing but in recent years the area has become more upmarket, with Jackson Street (a heritage street) attracting people from the wider Wellington region. The housing stock in Petone is extremely diverse, catering for a wide mix of people. Small old workers’ cottages are adjacent to 1970s flats and newer town houses, and there appears to be relatively affordable rental housing available alongside renovated owner-occupied workers’ cottages.

Although the neighbourhood features some buildings and small developments with extremely poor urban design, this appears not to affect the overall walkability and attractiveness of the area and Petone seems like a socially inclusive neighbourhood where people can meet most of their day-to-day needs locally.

Walking and public transport

Petone is very walkable, with a wide variety of local services available in walking distance and a streetscape that is interesting and functional. Several of the residential streets are designated “Slow Zones” and have traffic calming measures. While there are issues with cars parking on the footpath and poor building/street interface in the light industrial area in the west of the study area, this is unlikely to be a significant deterrent to walking, although walking after dark in this part of the neighbourhood may be less pleasant.

Bus services are regular, a train service exists at the western end of Petone and a ferry service into downtown Wellington was recently established.

Amenities and services

There are two full primary schools (year 1-8) and early childhood centres available locally, however there is no local secondary school. Along the main street there are a number of new apartment developments alongside older blocks of flats and flats above shops. The area has vertical mixed use with many of the shops on the main street having accommodation above as well as industrial and commercial uses within the residential area. Many of the spaces would be suitable for locals starting a small business near home.

Public spaces

All residents are within easy walking distance of Petone beach and the associated reserve, which has an extensive playground catering for small and older children.  There are a number of smaller neighbourhood reserves and an extensive sports grounds available within walking distance.


The natural environment has been heavily modified for a long time and as a result there are no significant ecological features in the study area. An exemption to this is the shoreline, which is likely to have some significance, however this too is heavily modified. The area has a high percentage of impermeable surfaces and some contamination is present due to its previous use.

Petone, Wellington