South Waikato District Plan

13.3-RLZ  Rural Lifestyle Zone


The Rural Lifestyle Zone provides an opportunity for people to live in a rural environment but to have little or no involvement in primary production. Rural residential areas are provided in selected locations which have been identified as suitable for the establishment of rural ‘lifestyle’ type living.  These locations have also been selected to ensure that the potential loss of options for productive use of rural land is limited, and without the potential for conflict that can occur between rural ‘lifestyle’ and production activities.  This enables the balance of the rural land resource to be retained for production purposes in the future.  This approach contributes to meeting the ‘lifestyle’ component of the rural and urban property market in the district.

The locations for rural lifestyle activity are predominantly adjacent to the three main settlements of Tokoroa, Tīrau and Putaruru, along with several locations near Council reserves adjacent to the Waikato River.  In such riverside localities however, the land may be subject to inundation and erosion hazards and may also comprise land managed for hydroelectric power generation.  Buildings and developments adjacent to the Waikato River also have the potential to compromise extensions of the Waikato River Trails. Building platforms therefore need to be sited and set back with care from river margins and hydro operating easement boundaries.

Some of the identified rural lifestyle locations are within identified significant natural areas or identified outstanding or significant amenity landscapes. They also have areas of indigenous biodiversity, and ecosystems with values that should be recognised and provided for.  Provisions have been included to recognise and protect the significant natural areas and landscape values of these areas, with a focus on the location and design of residential units. These provisions will also assist toward achieving the Vision and Strategy for the Waikato River.

A DCP is required to accompany any application for a rural lifestyle subdivision.  The DCP shall demonstrate the overall compatibility of the present subdivision with possible future development of the property, including provision of infrastructure services, stormwater management, and connectivity with the road network.



To maintain the productive capabilities of the rural land resource for primary production activities.


To avoid the establishment of non-rural based activities that do not have a legitimate need for a rural location, or which are potentially incompatible with activities that require such a location, including for reasons of reverse sensitivity.


To identify and address possible effects from activities in rural areas in catchments in the district, and on the health and wellbeing of the Waikato River and its catchment during decision making.



Avoid development and land management practices that result in adverse environmental effects from natural hazards such as erosion, flooding, subsidence or landslip. 


Minimise risks to the health and safety of people by controlling the location and design of subdivision and buildings in areas subject to natural hazards.


Provide for the subdivision, use, and development of land for rural lifestyle activities in specifically zoned places.


To minimise the potential for adverse effects of rural lifestyle subdivision, use, and development at the interface of the RLZ with other zones.


Promote rural residential development only in zoned locations which:

(a) Achieve cluster development, and avoids the layout of lots in a lineal pattern along roads

(b) Separates access and through-traffic functions in an effective manner

(c) Requires adequate separation distance from the Waikato River and hydroelectric power operating easements 

(d) Requires adequate separation distance between the national electricity transmission lines and new rural residential development

(e) Safeguards the landscape character, visual amenity and biodiversity values of the Waikato River valley by encouraging development to be sited and designed to be sympathetic with the landform and landscape, and existing vegetation, and the building materials and cladding of structures do not dominate the outlook visually or physically from or to the locality.

(f) Avoids, remedies or mitigates reverse sensitivity effects, including by imposing appropriate standards and conditions on development

RLZ- Rules

RLZ-R1 PER Activities

Subject to

(1) Pastoral farming and horticultural activities


(2) Forestry

(3) One residential unit per site, except in the Lake Arapuni, Horahora Road (Lot 1 DPS 21946) and Horahora Road north areas as defined on the planning maps

(4) Accessory buildings, except in the Lake Arapuni, Horahora Road (Lot 1 DPS 21946) and Horahora Road north areas

(5) Recreation and sporting activities on parks and reserves

(6) Pedestrian tracks and cycleways and associated facilities such as seating, tables and toilets

(7) Home business

(a) RLZ-R6(1) to (6)

(b) the principal operator of the home business must be a permanent resident on site

(c) the residential activity must remain the primary activity on the property with the home business involving not more than one third of the total floor space of buildings on the site

(d) involve no more than up to four full-time equivalent staff

(e) does not generate more than a total of 20 vehicle movements per day (i.e. a total of 10 vehicles involved in the commercial activity visiting and leaving the site)

(f) shall not generate vehicle movements between the hours of 7.00pm and 7.00am

(g) does not involve any exterior display or indication of the home business activity (apart from signs in compliance with the relevant standards)

(h) does not cause any dust nuisance and/or objectionable odour as defined by a Council Enforcement Officer

(i) does not include motor vehicle repair garages; wrecking and/or storage or recycling of vehicles; storage or recycling of vehicle parts, redundant white ware, bicycle frames, tyres, household waste, clothing, general rubbish; panel beating, spray painting or fibre-glassing; or facilities for the boarding, breeding and/or training of animals on a commercial basis.

(j) does not include the slaughtering of animals, or the manufacturing or retail sale of food prepared in the kitchen of the residential unit

(k) RLZ-R7 where relevant

(8) Visitor accommodation, except in the Lake Arapuni, Horahora Road (Lot 1 DPS 21946) and Horahora Road north areas

Services shall be for no more than 8 persons at any one time (excluding staff) per site

(9) Educational facility

Services shall be for no more than 8 persons at any one time (excluding staff) per site

(10) Carparks

(a) RLZ-R7 where relevant

(11) The storage, treatment, piping and spreading of agricultural effluent

(a) RLZ-R7 where relevant


(13) Emergency Service Facilities

(a) RLZ-R6

(b) RLZ-R7 where relevant

(14) Relocatable buildings

(a) RLZ-R6

(b) RLZ-R7 where relevant

RLZ-R2 Controlled Activities

Subject to

(1) One residential unit per site in the Lake Arapuni, Horahora Road (Lot 1 DPS 21946) and Horahora Road north areas as defined on the planning maps

RLZ-R6, and RLZ-R7 where relevant


Matters of Control

(a) The extent to which the location of structures will make them obtrusively visible, by being sited near the skyline, on a headland, or in another prominent position

(b) Whether structures, and associated artificial screening and shelter belts, would obstruct views from roads, the Waikato River and other public viewpoints

(c) The external design, construction and finish of structures, including how closely the finish blends with background colours and nearby buildings

(d) The extent to which alternative mitigation options and building sites are practical, having regard to the costs and benefits involved

(e) The extent to which the development will give effect to the Vision and Strategy for the Waikato River

(f) Additional matters of control under AA-R3(2)

(2) Accessory buildings in the Lake Arapuni, Horahora Road (Lot 1 DPS 21946) and Horahora Road north areas

(3) Visitor accommodation in the Lake Arapuni, Horahora Road (Lot 1 DPS 21946) and Horahora Road north areas


(4) Visitor accommodation in the Lake Arapuni, Horahora Road (Lot 1 DPS 21946) and Horahora Road north areas

(a) Services shall be for no more than 8 persons at any one time (excluding staff) per site

(b) RLZ-R7 where relevant

(5) Marae development and papakāinga

RLZ-R6, and RLZ-R7 where relevant


Matters of Control

(a) The potential impact of the development on traffic safety and efficiency

(b) The effect of any educational and employment initiatives upon the amenity values of nearby properties

(c) Additional matters of control under AA-R3(2)



(1) Any activity listed in RLZ-R1 or RLZ-R2 that does not conform to the standards in RLZ-R6

Matters of discretion

(a) AA-R3(1)

(b) AA-R3(2)

(2) Any building that does not conform to the building setbacks in RLZ-R6(2)

Matters of discretion

(a) AA-R3(1)

(b) AA-R3(2)


an application providing a geotechnical assessment to assess potential erosion and instability threats for those identified building sites

RLZ-R4 Discretionary Activities

Subject to

(1) Activities not PER, CON, RDIS, or NC

Matters of Discretion

(a) The extent to which the proposal concerns a novel or different type of land-use activity that could not have been anticipated when the plan was developed

(b) RLZ-R6 as a guide

(c) RLZ-R7 where relevant

(2)  More than one residential unit per site

(a) the extent to which a semblance of rural character will be retained, including the proposed and potential future density of development compared to the 0.5ha per dwelling average sought in the zone.

(b) RLZ-R6 as a guide

(c) RLZ-R7 where relevant

(3) Veterinary services

(a) RLZ-R6 as a guide

(b) RLZ-R7 where relevant


(4) Animal boarding facilities

(5) Craft workshops and studios

(6) Community facility

RLZ-R5 NC Activities


(1) Intensive indoor primary production

RMA provisions

(2) Mineral exploration, mining and quarrying activities

(3) Any industry ancillary to farming or forestry, including premises used for the manufacture of milk products, abattoirs, timber processing, stock yards and saleyards

(4) Outdoor storage

(5) Any building that does not comply with the requirement for a geotechnical assessment under RLZ-R3(2)


RLZ-R6 Standards

R6(1) Building Setbacks from Boundaries

(a) The minimum building setback requirements for residential units and accessory buildings are:

(i) 10m from the front boundary

(ii) 5m from side and rear boundaries

(b) All buildings housing animals must be set back at least 25m from any property boundary, excluding a road boundary

(c) The minimum building setback requirements for all other buildings are 10m from all boundaries.

R6(2) Other Building Setbacks, and Earthworks

(a) All buildings must be setback at least 25m from the top of the bank of the Waikato River, and from hydro-electric power operating easements at least 25m

(b) All buildings must be set back at least 20m from:

(i) the bed of any river or lake

(ii) the edge of any wetland with an area greater than 0.5 hectares

(c) Vegetation damage, earthworks, and cultivation shall not be carried out within 10m of the edge of a wetland or lake, or within the riparian setback to the banks of a nominated river or stream listed in Table 9 of NATC-R2.

R6(3) Building Coverage

(a) The maximum amount of the site which can be covered by buildings is 10%

(b) The maximum building coverage for Emergency Service Facilities is 50%

(c) The maximum floor area of any building is 500m².

R6(4)  Height

(a) Maximum Building Height - 8m

Note: The maximum height for Emergency Service Facilities is 15m

(b) Maximum Height in Relation to Boundary - No part of any building shall protrude through a plane rising at an angle of 45 degrees commencing at an elevation of 3m measured at the boundary

(c) No building, structure, mast, tree or other object shall penetrate any of the Tokoroa Airport approach/departure slopes, transitional side slopes or horizontal surface as shown on Planning Map No 44.  Where the ground rises so that it penetrates or becomes close to the approach/departure slopes or transitional side slopes then these slopes may be adjusted in conformity with the contours of the ground so as to provide a vertical clearance of 10m above ground level. Refer to AIRPZ-R5(3)(b)

(d) Parts of buildings that may protrude through the height control lines are chimneys, flues and similar projections, television, and telecommunication aerials and dishes, rainwater tanks, domestic scale renewable energy devices, and in addition on commercial and industrial buildings, lift machinery, air-conditioning and heating plants; all attached to the building and projecting not more than 3m above the building height standard for the zone, and less than 4m2 in area.

R6(5) Building Materials and Reflectivity

(a) Cladding materials and paint colours on all buildings shall not exceed a reflectivity value of 40% when applying British Standard 5252:1976. 

(b) Roof cladding shall be a minimum of 5% darker than the walls and other vertical claddings.

R6(6) Exclusions/Inclusions for residential units

(a) Residential units do not include residential use of tents, buses or caravans/camper vans, whether in association with use of another building or not, except for a period not exceeding one month

(b) It includes the construction, alteration, removal or demolition of residential units (except buildings listed in SCHED1-HH, an existing residential unit moved within the same site, and new prefabricated residential units that are constructed elsewhere and then moved onto the site.

RLZ-R7 Other Plan Matters

The following may also be relevant:

(1) Section 7.1 Energy, 7.2 Infrastructure, 7.3 Transportation

(2) Section 8.1 Contaminated Land, 8.2 Hazardous Substances, 8.3 Natural Hazards

(3) Section 9.1 Historic Heritage

(4) Section 10.1 Ecosystems and Indigenous Biodiversity, 10.2 Natural Character, 10.3 Natural Features and Landscapes, 10.4 Public Access

(5) Chapter 11 Subdivision       

(6) Section 12.1 All Activities

(7) Section 12.2 Activities on the Surface of Water, 12.3 Air Emissions, 12.4 Earthworks, 12.6 Light,12.7 Noise, 12.8 Signs, 12.9 Temporary Activities

(8) Part 3- Any relevant overlay

RLZ- Other Methods


The Waikato Regional Plan should also be consulted to ensure that there are no additional resource consents required from the Regional Council for structures within or in close proximity to waterbodies, or the modification of waterbodies

RLZ- Principal Reasons


Subdivision for rural lifestyle development has been directed to specific locations within the RLZ

RLZ- Anticipated Environmental Results


Patterns of subdivision that cluster residential living environments into the overall character of the rural landscape.


Rural residential living environments in a predominantly rural area that accommodate the existing amenity values and the operation of established rural activities.


Defined rural residential living environments adjacent to Council reserves that do not detract from the natural, landscape and ecological values of the riparian margins of the Waikato River and give effect to the Vision and Strategy for the Waikato River.


Infrastructure services are provided by property owners in a manner that promotes the sustainable management of resources.


The lawful operation of existing rural land-uses, and network utilities are not constrained by the introduction of new rural-residential land-uses in the locality.


Buildings and structures are set back from waterways a sufficient distance to avoid natural hazards and modification of waterways and riparian margins, to preserve natural character and to give effect to the Vision and Strategy for the Waikato River.