Waitakere City Council will investigate developing a Chinatown precinct for New Lynn which could include erecting large ornamental gates.
Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey outlined to councillors in October a proposal to redevelop part of Totara Ave as a precinct reflective of traditional and modern China.
His vision is to build on the new transport hub being created in New Lynn and the town's emerging new migrant culture to create an attractive new retail area.
He said New Lynn had the highest percentage of Chinese people a head of any town centre in the country.
A proposed timeline was outlined in a report by Mr Harvey to the council last week. Chinatown would officially open at the 2010 Waitakere Moon Festival.
But councillor Graeme Campbell said reactions were mixed. There were fears the development would be alien and unrelated to the past of New Lynn.
Several sites within the town centre - including the main shopping hub Totara Ave - are being considered.
New Lynn's sister city Ningbo, in northeastern China, has agreed to help with the design for traditional gates.
The budget will be considered next year as part of the Long Term Council Community Plan and Annual Plan process. Mr Harvey said he hoped the project would help to distinguish New Lynn from other town centres in the region and Waitakere from other cities in New Zealand.
"It is an exciting idea and it's an idea that stacks up in cities like Melbourne, London, Seattle and Sydney. It's not about social or cultural engineering. It's about tourism and marketing. It's about New Lynn as a thriving, buzzing town centre. It's about food, festivals and fun."
Mr Harvey hopes that Chinatown would become a focal point for Asian cultural events, such as the Chinese New Year and Moon festivals, and for visiting exhibitions.