Ground has been broken and the foundations for a small village that will provide thousands of new homes less than an hour south of Auckland City are being laid.

The first of these homes will be ready to welcome new residents, into the small town near Pukekohe, as early as the middle of next year.

Maps and artist's impressions of the village soon to rise out of the South Auckland landscape have been released to the Herald.

They show a village centre, complete with its own heritage district, market gardens, schools, retirement village, transit interchange and other amenities on the site of the former dairy farm.


On the remainder of the 276.9 ha block will be built thousands of new homes, intertwined with green spaces, cycle paths and walkways.

There would be between 4000 and 5000 new houses in a mixture of terraced, apartment and stand-alone configurations.

The design of the village was created by San Francisco-based Surfacedesign a company co-founded by Kiwi urban designer and sustainable landscape architect James Lord - the same company responsible for Auckland Airport's landscaping.

Paerata Development Vision Plan. Photo: Supplied
Paerata Development Vision Plan. Photo: Supplied

Plans for the development of the land, upon which Wesley College had been based since 1924, were announced in late 2015.

Most of the college buildings, barring a historic chapel and a handful of newer buildings, would be demolished and relocated elsewhere within the village.

Grafton Downs - a joint venture owned by Wesley College Trust Board and the Methodist Church's PACT 2086 Trust - was in charge of the development, which was to be completed within five to 10 years.

Grafton Downs executive director Chris Johnston said at the time of the earlier announcement the sale of a number of the sections would help secure the school's future and fund the rest of the development.

"The key beneficiary is Wesley College which provides for economically disadvantaged students."


He said the plan was to transform the area and make it into the "most liveable town, within the most liveable city".

In the latest announcement which named the village and those who'd build it, Johnston said the vision was to provide a "new unique place to live where homestead architecture is envisaged".

"We will be working closely with approved build partners to create, as prescribed under the Paerata Rise design guide, a new unique place to live where homestead architecture is envisaged."

Twelve new build partners had been announced, included household names GJ Gardner, Signature Homes and Jennian Homes.

The first stage of digging up the land was done, waste and water pipes were being laid and by mid-December the builders would have road access to the site by mid-December, with the first homes ready by mid-2018.

Johnson said the village's name, Paerata Rise, paid homage to the area's history and to its present community.

"As well as acknowledging the existing Paerata community, the name is a nod to the meaning of Paerata in te reo, that is, 'horizon of the rata'.

"It was important to those involved in the development that the name was in keeping with, as well as inclusive of, the area's heritage."