The NZ Transport Agency and iwi and hapū from north of Auckland have adopted a dual name for the Pūhoi to Wellsford Road of National Significance that combines English and Māori.
The route is now known as the Ara Tūhono – Puhoi to Wellsford Road of National Significance. Ara Tūhono means a connecting pathway (Ara meaning pathway/passage and Ara Tūhono means connecting or linking one part to another).
The NZTA’s Regional Director for Auckland and Northland, Stephen Town, says the name reflects the route’s objectives of improving transport connections between Auckland and Northland.
“Ara Tūhono does not refer to one single location but has much wider significance relating to what this new highway is all about – making journeys for people and freight between our two regions easier, safer and more reliable.”
Tame te Rangi, vice chair of Hōkai Nuku, - the organisation representing iwi and hapu - welcomes the use of a dual name for a project that has social and cultural importance for the region.
“When you have lived at the northern end of the state highway network, you understand that it is more than just a road to Auckland – it is a direct route, a gateway, to the rest of the world,” Mr Te Rangi says.
The Ara Tūhono tohu (logo) was presented at a ceremony held at the Auckland Council offices in Orewa today (Thursday 21 February) attended by NZTA officials, iwi and political and community leaders. The new green and blue tohu represents the objectives of iwi and the project.
Mr Town said the decision to adopt Ara Tūhono - Pūhoi to Wellsford was emblematic of the positive ongoing collaboration between the NZTA and Hōkai Nuku – an alliance representing iwi and hapū north of Auckland (Ngāti Manuhiri, Ngāti Mauku/Ngāti Kauae, Ngāti Rango o Kaipara and Ngāti Whātua with the support of Ngāti Paoa) in the development of the route.
Hōkai Nuku was established to represent iwi and hapū, and it has been working with the NZTA since 2010 on a range of issues around the RoNS.
“The dual name says something more that is special about New Zealand – and the way Māori and Europeans engage together. Our partnership with iwi in Auckland and Northland can be seen on a number of highway projects that reflect cultural heritage through the design of panels, walls, bridges and artwork,” Mr Town says. “The NZTA is committed to working closely with iwi across Auckland and Northland on all of our state highway projects.”
The NZTA plans to lodge its Notice of Requirement with the Environmental Protection Authority to obtain necessary consents to construct the first section of Ara Tūhono - Pūhoi to Wellsford – from Pūhoi to Warkworth - in the third quarter of this calendar year. Construction is due to start in 2014.
The four-lane, 38-kilometre Ara Tūhono - Pūhoi to Wellsford RoNS is crucial to supporting growth in Northland and improving transport links between the economic centres of Northland, Auckland and Waikato/Bay of Plenty.
Ara Tūhono - Pūhoi to Wellsford is part of the NZTA’s roads of national significance programme (RoNS for short), which represents one of New Zealand’s biggest ever infrastructure investments. Once completed, the seven RoNS routes will reduce congestion in and around our five largest metropolitan areas, and will move people and freight between and within these centres more safely and efficiently.
Other RoNS are: Auckland’s Western Ring Route, Auckland’s Victoria Park Tunnel (completed in 2012), Waikato Expressway, Tauranga Eastern Link, Wellington Northern Corridor, and Christchurch Motorways. More information is available at www.nzta.govt.nz/rons(external link).