Master Planning of the Defence Estate


The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF)



Case Study

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) manages an estate of approximately 81,000 ha, 5,000 buildings, with an infrastructure replacement value of approximately $2.8 billion.

The 2010 Defence White Paper noted much of the Defence Estate was facing a risk of rapid deterioration. The Government has indicated that, over the next 15 years, it will spend $1.7 billion regenerating the Defence Estate.

Since 2013, NZDF, together with Tonkin + Taylor Ltd (T+T), has undertaken a programme of strategic planning, preparing Estate Strategic Frameworks (ESF) for the camps, bases and training areas across New Zealand.

Thirteen ESFs have been prepared for Defence Force sites across New Zealand. The purpose of the ESFs is to ensure orderly and effective development of camps, bases, and major training areas and their supporting sites, in a way that is consistent with NZDF objectives and strategies for medium to long-term development.

Future design and planning principles have been developed for each site, in response to Cabinet direction and site specific opportunities, coupled with the overarching strategic objectives for the Defence Estate.

Our methodology aims to ensure that each of the strategic framework plans are tailored to NZDF’s needs and drivers, and that each one serves as the platform for guiding future decision making, while anticipating, and possibly consolidating, existing and future needs.

For the strategic framework plans to be worthwhile and useful, they need to provide for the current operational needs as well as for future strategic development of the Defence Estate.

The ESFs have been used to guide the regeneration of the Defence Estate. The desired outcome is to develop modern, sustainable, energy efficient, fit-for-purpose buildings and supporting infrastructure that meet NZDF and wider ‘All of Government’ needs. The strategic planning outcomes will result in greater organisation and resilience.

Where consolidation and co-location is pursued, the intended outcomes include:

  • Reduced maintenance burden
  • Economies of scale which can be achieved by concentrating like activities at fewer facilities
  • Reduced inventory of buildings

The overall benefit of the programme of regeneration will be to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the Defence Estate, providing:

  • Better operational outcomes
  • Significant efficiency gains
  • An aspirational goal
  • An optimised construction sequence
  • Economic stimulus across a number of regions and sectors, including opportunities for NZDF to work with partners for the delivery

We believe that this programme of strategic planning will be some of the most important work that NZDF will undertake, ultimately defining the fabric of the Defence Estate for the next 25 - 50 years. The regeneration outcomes that are achieved will run to the heart of the Defence Force, creating a sense of place and a sense of culture. The regeneration of the Defence Estate will enhance the overall NZDF offering for staff, leading to improvements in staff satisfaction and retention.

The ESFs have used innovative planning techniques in both the development process and in the communication of the outcomes. The ESF documents prepared by our design team are very different to the usual engineering driven masterplan processes. They have been well received and have become benchmark standards for the Defence Force. The wider scope, in terms of strategy and timeframe, has challenged client and consultants and both have responded to create an exemplar approach to strategic planning.

The ESFs have been an integral part of the business case prepared by the Defence Force to secure an unprecedented level of funding from Government that will have far reaching consequences for the Defence Force and beyond: This includes the communities they are located in and support, as well as the wider “All Government” needs such as emergency service training.

Our client has been extremely pleased with the consistently high quality of the strategic plans delivered by our design team. So much so, that in 2015 we were nominated for the Minister of Defence Award of Excellence to Industry Awards, in which we were a finalist in the category for “Provision of Superior Services to Defence”.




Key Project Contacts

Shannon Richardson Shannon Richardson