Naenae (NaeNae), New Zealand, Australia
Year1944latitude: -41° 12'
longitude: 174° 57'
Planning organization
Nationality initiator(s)
Designer(s) / Architect(s)Ernst Anton Plischke
Design organization
Inhabitants8,000 (2006)
Target population15,000
Town website
Town related links t ons-compliance/m103473675
Literature- Plischke, Ernst A., Ein leben mit Architektur / Ernst A. Plischke, Löcker, Wien 1989
- August Sarnitz; Eva Ottilinger, Ernst Plischke: Modern Architecture for the New World. The Complete Works, Prestel, Munich – Berlin – London – New York 2004

type of New Town: > scale of autonomy
New Town
Company Town
> client
Private Corporation
Public Corporation
> policy
Naenae is a satellite city of Lower Hutt City in the North Island of New Zealand built as a lower-income housing area. It is a community, but not a township in its own right. Before WWII Naenae was primarily a rural area consisting of smaller farms and market gardens. In the 30s the government selected the area for state housing, and with the demand for rental housing increasing after WWII as servicemen returned, the subdivision of the Naenae area was prompted.

Ernst Plischke describes the plan for Naenae as an attempt to overcome the haphazardness and lack of control of the construction method of new cities. The city was designed as a total structure. Plischke took out the proposed railway station in the inner city and replaced it with a city centre of a plaza forming three squares of different character - a sort of translation of the Piazza San Marco in Venice, which slow formation history over centuries, in contrast to spaces and places finished and determined in their original design, he admired very much. Naenae could have been a public affair, Plischke says.

But despite having the site and money at hand, Naenae was not build according to its first plans. Naenae was part of a political controversy. A movement, Co-operative Naenae, was created, that wanted the people of Naenae to control and own their own shops. The leader, William Robertson, saw the ideological connection between their ideas and those of modernism and valued Plischke's design. The scheme was opposed by the Labour MP for the Hutt, Walter Nash, who was afraid to loose votes if he supported it. In his autobiography, Plischke describes the obstacles of returned - with his words - conservative soldiers and the consequent hesitation of the Minister of Finance to implement the plan. The project came for referendum and lost 49-51. According to Plischke, his friend and colleague Robson committed suicide after the defeat. Naenae got build after modified plans under the management of the state housing architect and from 1947 government architect Gordon Wilson. The postwar housing shortage meant that the state gave priority to building homes rather than halls - and the community centre in Naenae was never completed. Between 1945 and 1956 Naenae grew rapidly and much of its state housing date from this time. In 1963 the population reached 15,000. The combination of private subdivisions and residents buying and modifying previously state owned dwellings has contributed to slow transformations of the suburb.

Today the population is around 8000. Starting with bright hopes, Naenae is nowadays a socio-economically rather depressed area. In 2001 the Lower Hutt Council made a demography analysis of Naenae showing that the population of the city has nearly stagnated and that the average household income is low. The Council has initiated more smaller revitalisation plans, for instance focusing on the upgrading of the city centre. 'Overgrown' trees have been replaced by new thinner trees to improve the sight lines, footpaths have replaced grass, and new seating platforms have been made. The plan seeks to make the centre area more user-friendly. But the real achievement of this is a limited success.


2008 - 2024 disclaimer