One of the Bay of Plenty’s most significant infrastructure projects has been renamed.
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and the hapū Treaty partners have formally renamed the two State Highway 2 New Zealand Upgrade Programme projects to Takitimu North Link.
The Takitimu North Link is part of the Government’s New Zealand Upgrade Programme, which is a $6.8 billion investment to get our cities moving, to save lives and boost productivity in growth areas.
Waka Kotahi General Manager Transport Services Brett Gliddon says the re-naming of the Tauranga Northern Link and Ōmokoroa to Te Puna projects is a significant step to acknowledge the area’s cultural heritage and connect all who have mana whenua along the corridor.
“This name change represents a strengthening of our hapū relationship. Understanding the history of the land our state highways travel through is a significant part of any project and by working closely with our hapū partners we are recognising this.”
“All hapū partners have whakapapa (ancestry) to the Takitimu waka and it is important that this is appropriately reflected in the project,” says Mr Gliddon.
Pirirākau Environmental Manager Julie Shepherd says the hapū are looking forward to continuing to work in partnership with central and local government as the project comes to life.
“We’re building this road together, with respect to te ao Māori, and with the hapū of the area as Treaty partners,” says Ms Shepherd.
“Our hope is this project will provide more jobs for our communities, especially during these challenging times, and better and safer links to our towns, all while respecting our natural environment.”
Ngāti Hangarau hapū representative Tatai Allen says the name is fitting because the Takitimu waka is the link that connects all the hapū of the rohe (area).
“We feel strongly about showing the connection between the project and all of the hapū in the rohe — this name will help give our wider community the opportunity to get to know and understand the rich history of the area,” Ms Allen says.
The $933 million Takitimu North Link project will connect Tauranga and Ōmokoroa with a new 14 kilometre link between State Highway 29 Takitimu Drive Toll Road and State Highway 2 Ōmokoroa intersection and will be constructed in two phases, beginning next year. The tender process for contractors is expected to get underway this month.
The alignment for the Takitimu North Link project is within the rohe of Ngāti Ranginui iwi, and includes the hapū of Pirirākau, Ngai Tamarawaho, Ngāti Hangarau, Ngāti Kahu, Ngāti Pango, and Ngāti Rangi. The largest area of this roading project is within the Pirirākau rohe.
The new link will provide residents and visitors to the Bay of Plenty with safer, more resilient access to one of New Zealand’s highest growth areas, support economic growth and community wellbeing, and provide greater travel choice as well as a walking and cycling shared path. It will also connect to the $101 million Waihī to Ōmokoroa safety improvements project which is in construction.