Watch NZH Local Focus: Castlecliff - the hot suburb where houses average $125k

Zaryd Wilson

Castlecliff is stirring - and the rest of Whanganui his now waking up to the potential of its beachside suburb.

"It was almost at a tipping point. And it's just, the right people have become involved to kick it over that tipping point. And now it feels like it's snowballing," Progress Castlecliff's Jamie Waugh said.

The redevelopment of the Whanganui port has begun and a cycle trail will soon connect the city to the beach.

A doctor's surgery and a dental clinic have sprung up in the last 18 months and a new café is opening in time for summer.

"It became a no brainer for me. The suburb is crying out for it. It's crazy for a beachside suburb as beautiful as this one - with the resources we have - to not have somewhere where people can go for a coffee or a beer," Charlotte Melser, who is one of four setting up The Citadel said.

House prices rose almost 15 per cent in the 12 months to June but the median is still an affordable $125,000.

The Castlecliff School roll has grown from 62 pupils to 148 in the past the three years and board chair Des Warahi says it's a sign of a healthy community.

"Castlecliff's always been passionate about where we are and the people who are here," he said.

"I think the biggest thing is that for the first time - probably in 20 years - council and local iwi are on the same page. We've never been on that same page before."

Castlecliff's change in fortune has come from the ground up. The community is organised and highly motivated.

"That power is there for any community group to take. It's just that too often we moan to our friends rather than actually front-footing it," Mr Waugh said.

He believes what is happening at Castlecliff can become a blueprint for regional rejuvenation around the country.

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- NZ Herald

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