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Our Place Tauranga is made up of more than 30 containers that vendors have fitted out and made their own – Photos by Victor Alexeyev

Shipping containers at the heart of new Tauranga food and retail hub

The new ‘container city’ in Tauranga showcases the diversity, adaptability and unique design aesthetic that shipping containers can bring to an inner-city urban space.


Known as Our Place Tauranga, the food, entertainment and social hub is made up of more than 30 containers that vendors have fitted out and made their own. Located on the site of the old city council administration buildings in the heart of Tauranga, Our Place is a temporary yet dynamic city centre project that provides spaces for local businesses, social enterprises and start-ups at affordable rents.

Royal Wolf, Australasia’s largest supplier of shipping containers, worked with Our Place Tauranga creators Little Big Events and the Tauranga City Council on the planning, design, and engineering requirements for the forward-thinking community venue.

The company, which specialises in the hire, sale and modification of shipping containers, supplied the containers for the project, including a mix of open side, standard, and pedestrian walkway containers. The 20 and 40 ft containers form the structure of Our Place, allowing individual tenants to fit out the containers and spaces as they want them.

“For a project like this, containers are ideal because it means they can be adapted and fitted out to suit a tenant’s individual needs – be it for a café, a retail outlet, or an entertainment-meets-community space,” says Paul Creighton, Royal Wolf executive general manager.

Diverse and adaptable

Mr Creighton says the Tauranga project highlights the acceptance of shipping containers as more than just steel boxes that are used to transport goods. “Containers were chosen for the project because they are strong, secure and have an industrial chic aesthetic that suits a central city environment. They really are a diverse and adaptable product to work with and their highly portability nature is a key part of a container’s appeal.”

Little Big Events director Chris Duffy says Our Place Tauranga taps into the city council’s Heart of the City campaign and it has already transformed the area into an eating and shopping destination. “The idea of Our Place Tauranga was to enliven and revitalise the inner city and it’s done that to the point where there is a micro economy establishing itself – and locals are loving it,” he says.

Royal Wolf has been involved in a number of similar projects, including the Underground Market on Wellington’s waterfront, the Queens Wharf retail and food village on the Auckland waterfront, and Christchurch’s post-earthquake Re:START Mall.

Mr Creighton says the Re:START Mall was an example of how to create a vibrant public space out of containers. “It set a standard and showed how containers can be transformed into an efficient yet stylish hub, with a diverse range of services on offer for members of the public. Our Place Tauranga takes it to the next level – it is going to be a huge asset for Tauranga, and will act as a magnet to encourage people into the centre of town.”

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