New Zealand’s most ambitious walking and cycling route is a step closer, with early work on the new Te Ara Tupua pathway between Wellington and Lower Hutt underway. Work on Honiana Te Puni Reserve, on the Pito-One foreshore, has begun.
Emma Speight, Waka Kotahi Director Regional Relationships, says it is wonderful to see work begin on the project.
“Right now, no safe option exists for people who wish to travel between Wellington and Lower Hutt by bike or on foot. Getting this project underway is an important first step to fixing this. It’s also a great way to encourage people into active transport, as people are more likely to do it if they know the paths they’re using are safe and protected from traffic.”
Among the changes will be the construction of the Tāwharau pods and new cultural and community buildings on the eastern side of the Honiana Te Puni Reserve
The Tāwharau Pods will initially be used as a Te Ara Tupua project information centre and a carving studio for iwi Māori artists who will work on cultural design elements of the project. The Pods are small relocatable buildings which will be shifted from the east side of the Reserve to the west side on completion of the path in 2026.
Te Ara Tupua Mana Whenua Steering Group Chairperson Kim Skelton says this project has been developed in partnership with iwi mana whenua, working alongside Waka Kotahi and Hutt City Council.
“The construction of the Tāwharau Pods at Honiana Te Puni Reserve is a key milestone for Taranaki Whānui with the regeneration of iwi physical presence on iwi-owned land. The name tāwharau means shelter, and the pods symbolise the shelter and protection that Honiana Te Puni himself extended to early settlers and the welcome that iwi mana whenua will continue to extend to the few and to the many manuhiri who will visit and respect our whenua of significance.”
Lower Hutt Mayor, Campbell Barry, says the work will leave a positive legacy at Honiana Te Puni Reserve and is a great addition to the local shared path network.
“This is an exciting development and another major step towards improving public spaces and achieving a transport network that supports people to move around freely, safely, and efficiently with lower environmental impact. The creation of this critical walking and cycling link, and the upgraded Reserve, will be significant assets to our city and people.”
Changes coming to Honiana Te Puni Reserve include:
Other early works happening over the summer include building two temporary barge landings on the coastal edge between Ngā Ūranga and Pito-One. Barges will bring materials to the project site, reducing truck traffic and helping make construction more efficient.
You can find out more about the project on the Waka Kotahi website.