Does a retaining wall need a resource consent?

A retaining wall needs a resource consent if the following applies:

  • your retaining wall is greater than 2 metres in height above ground level and does not meet the zone rules for Major Structures.
  • you want to build a fence on top of your retaining wall (or alongside, within 1 metre of it) and the height above ground level in combination with that of your retaining wall exceeds 2 metres, and the zone rules for Major Structures are not met.
  • your property is within a Coastal Area Landscape, High Natural Character Area or Outstanding Natural Character Area, and earthworks to build your retaining wall exceed a cut face height of 2 metres (unless you are in the Coastal Area Landscape of the Business 4 zone or Strategic Rural Industries zone).  These rules can be found in the Coastal Area Chapter of the District Plan under Part 2 District Wide Matters. 

District Plan

Finding your property zone

There may be other site-specific circumstances where works associated with building a retaining wall require a resource consent.

Your retaining wall may also require a building consent.


The information on this page provides a summarised version of District Plan rules which apply to retaining walls. There may be other rules that apply depending on the specifics of what is proposed. 

The District Plan should be referred to in all cases for a comprehensive list of applicable rules.  

We are in the process of adopting a new District Plan which means there are currently two versions of the District Plan – an Operative District Plan and an Appeals Version District Plan. 

The rules referred to on this page are those of the Appeals Version District Plan, which are now ‘treated as operative’. In resolving outstanding appeals, additional rules may be added to the District Plan which may change what you are permitted to do on your property.

The Appeals Version District Plan will become the new Operative District Plan once any outstanding appeals are resolved. 

District Plan