Te Ahu a Turanga embarks on second earthworks season


Te Ahu a Turanga: Manawatū Tararua Highway has completed its first earthworks season, with over 650,000 cubic metres of earth moved since construction began in January this year.

Thanks to a relatively mild winter and a seamless COVID-19 shutdown and restart, the project began its second earthworks season this month in a strong position.

During Level 4 the site had to close except for essential maintenance. With stringent safety plans in place, Te Ahu a Turanga was one of the first major projects to resume construction in Level 3 and the site is fully operational in Level 2.

Lonnie Dalzell, Waka Kotahi Regional Manager Infrastructure Delivery, says a big focus this year has been creating access for construction. A lot of this work is nearing completion and with access largely in place across the site, the coming earthworks season is about moving a lot of dirt.

“Over 10 per cent of the project’s total earthworks has been completed and we are working towards having half the project’s total earthworks moved by the end of the current season, in May 2022.”

Te Ahu a Turanga is one of the largest earthworks projects in the country and has around 120 pieces of large machinery onsite, including a Wabco 353 elevating scraper – one of the biggest scrapers in the world.

Mr Dalzell says good progress on landscaping has also been made.

“The landscaping team has been out in all weather and has met their goal of getting close to 250,000 native plants in the ground at two farm sites before the warmer weather arrives. Around 630,000 plants are growing at a number of nurseries for planting next year.” 

The project team has grown to around 220 people, including subcontractors, and there are a number of jobs to be filled. There are opportunities for labourers, apprentices, field technicians, diesel mechanics, and multi-skilled earthworks machinery drivers. Job vacancies are listed on the Te Ahu a Turanga website:

Te Ahu a Turanga: Manawatū Tararua Highway job vacancies

Mr Dalzell says that while earthworks production is business as usual, the project’s Visitor Centre on Napier Road in Ashhurst is closed for the time being due to COVID-19.

“We are monitoring the situation and will reopen to the public as soon as it is safe to do so. In the meantime, you can see the latest progress by checking out our latest flyover online.”

For the latest flyover and project information, go to:

Te Ahu a Turanga: Manawatū Tararua Highway