Rural Subdivision and the Auckland Unitary Plan

The Auckland Unitary Plan (AUP) lays out the regulations for subdividing land, including rural areas. Auckland’s rural subdivision rules (E39) are still being finalised within the AUP, though we expect to see a final set of rules this year. This plan will benefit both landowners and the environment through a Transferable Rural Subdivision (TRS) title.

  • Landowner Benefit: A new, potentially buildable section is created.
  • Environmental Gain: A designated area of native bush or wetland is permanently protected.

A TRS doesn’t directly depend on your total property size. Instead, it hinges on the area of protected native bush or wetland you dedicate on your land. There may be land transfer options available to you which at first glance, don’t seem possible.

Because rural subdivision rules are currently a “moving goalpost,” talking to our team means knowing all your options, costs, and timeframes. This clarifies the cause-and-effect relationship between the changing rules and the benefit of consulting the planning and ecology teams.

Subdividing rural land by the coast or a stream? 


There might be a requirement to create an esplanade reserve, which becomes a public area managed by the Council. This helps protect the environment and provides public access to the water.

We’re here to smooth the process:

  • Work with you to determine the ideal size and location for the esplanade reserve on your property.
  • Help you redesign your subdivision plans if necessary, to ensure it complements the reserve and maximises the value of your lots.
  • Advise on specific actions that can be taken on your land to further protect the environment.

Specific rules for Auckland rural subdivision 


  • Protecting rural character: New subdivisions shouldn’t disrupt the rural feel or sprawl along roads.
  • Avoiding conflicts: New lifestyle blocks shouldn’t create problems for existing agriculture or industry.
  • Rural living with environmental protection: This is limited to specific zones and achieved by protecting native bush or wetlands.

Experience hassle-free rural subdivision with our expert Planners and Ecologists