The Base Shopping Centre

A flagship retail project for Tainui Group Holdings Ltd, with an outcome far exceeding scope and initial aspirations.


Entrance to underground carpark, looking north along Maahanga Drive


Te Awa Mall under construction, looking north along Maahanga Drive


Looking south along Maahnga drive, showing southern part of Te Awa Mall (which opened first); north end still under construction.

The challenge

The site of The Base originally housed the NZ Airforce and required rezoning to allow the development of the retail area.  Once rezoned BBO secured resource consents for the anchor tenant The Warehouse, and subsequently for a range of large format retail stores. The aspirations of Tainui Group Holdings Ltd changed over time to incorporate a large mall, eateries, and services.  The challenge was to adapt consents and engineering to provide for the changing needs of the site including transport access, public transport, stormwater management and discharge, wastewater discharge, reliable utilities supply, and high-quality landscape and shopper experience.

During the Hamilton City District Plan review in 2012, BBO identified issues with the ongoing uncertainties of having to obtain multiple resource consents as The Base grew. BBO worked with Council staff to implement rules that simplified the consenting process, while ensuring the development remained within agreed floorspace caps.

Demands increased as the site grew, and a further level was introduced to the Mall, requiring BBO to provide ongoing innovative traffic solutions.  A multi-disciplinary approach to the development was needed including working with building and landscape architects, retail experts, engineers, and planners.  Collaboration and ongoing consultation with Hamilton City Council and Waka Kotahi were essential to a successful outcome.

At times, stringent timeframes for construction were needed to ensure limited impact on public access.  The site was developed in a staged manner commencing in 2002 through to 2015.

The outcome

A flagship project for Tainui Group Holdings Ltd, The Base is a highly accessible and successful sub-regional shopping centre. Stages 1 to 3 (approx. 35,000m2 gross floor area), saw BBO deliver transportation planning, design, and civil infrastructure, which included significant resource consent monitoring of the related traffic impacts on the adjacent high-volume traffic at the time when it was State Highway One.

Stage 4 included a further 24,700m2 gross floor area, with subsequent stages of development seeing The Base expand to over 100,000m2 gross floor area including over 800 carparks.  Significant consultation with Hamilton City Council and Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency (Waka Kotahi), addressed their traffic-related concerns, and at the same time minimised any delay to the consent application.

BBO delivered all planning, infrastructure design, traffic design and analysis, and remained flexible throughout the development phases, testing innovative out-of-the-box solutions based on tough constraints for getting traffic moving in, out, and around the site.  This site was one of the first low impact stormwater solutions in Hamilton utilising soakage systems to minimise impacts on the downstream system. 

The Development is now by Tainui Group Holdings Ltd and Kiwi Property.