The Waihi urban landscape is set to change next year.

Hauraki District Council will be renumbering 23 per cent of properties across the town, and a quarter of them will have their street renamed by March 1.

Some 650 houses will be affected by the change, and residents are being notified by mail.

The Council has been planning the project for the past 10 years and needed to bring the town up to regulations to allow for future development.

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According to Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), 90 per cent of Waihi urban layout does not meet national standards.

These national standards provide guidance for the Council to renumber the town by giving logical and sequential addresses, with odd numbers on the left and even numbers on the right side of streets, LINZ Group Manager Topography and Addressing Aaron Jordan said.

"In Waihi, we have address numbers that run the wrong way, addresses that don't allow for infill development, or odd and even numbers appearing on the wrong side of the street. "These addresses don't meet the national addressing standard, and can cause confusion for emergency services and post and delivery services.

"The national addressing standard helps ensure property addressing is consistent, and allows for development so that it's not difficult to find properties," he said.

The decision to renumber the streets is the result of a long consultation process with Waihi emergency services and LINZ.

"Approximately three and a half years ago, the former Waihi Ward councillors met with emergency services, the NZ Post and LINZ. "The message was very clear that the whole town should be re-numbered," Waihi Ward Councillor Harry Shepherd explained.

"For one reason or another, this project went on the backburner for a while and it resurfaced about four months ago.. The Council felt it would have been too complicated to address all aspects of this issue at once. So after meetings and consultation, we cut it down to what we think will cause the minimum amount of disruption for Waihi residents."

For some emergency services, random numbering had posed a range of issues, including possible delays in a potentially life-threatening emergency responses.

"The numbering is not so bad for people like myself who were born in Waihi, but the new staff are getting lost all the time. Even if the brigade has a GPS and the ambulance has one as well, we still end up at the wrong place sometimes," Waihi Chef Fire Officer Moe Stevens explained.

By opting for a middle-ground solution, Council wanted to limit disruption to businesses.

In that way, the main commercial area of Seddon St will not be renumbered.

Our unique numbering heritage

The 'quirky' urban planning of Waihi comes from the 1800s when mining companies settled, creating small settlements within the same town.

With no standards to meet at the time, numbers and addresses of cottages were attributed rather randomly.

A good example is the case of Bradford and Roberts streets.

Both have large lots and no provision for infill with lowest numbers starting from the end of the street toward the centre. Roberts St, for instance, has properties currently numbered in the 60s next to number 1.

Another example of quirkiness is the left side of Wrigley St which is scattered like lottery numbers.

According to the council, this street is one of the worst, and will be renumbered entirely.

Odd numbers are mixed with even, and has no logical order; they range from the top with numbers 2, 3, 11A, 11, 7, 9 then 13 and 17 at the end of the street.

This project will go beyond the town's border as Google and printed maps will need to be revised. New Zealand Post and LINZ will also amend their databases before March.

Waihi Police Sergeant Aaron Fraser said it is just an administrative challenge and Police will update their files easily.

For LINZ, Waihi's numbering is unique case.

"We are not aware of any other towns with numbering issues of this scale. The last time we saw a change like this was about 20 years ago when addressing changes were made in Te Awamutu," Aaron Jordan explained.