Project introduction

Waka Kotahi is undertaking a programme of improvements to the Forgotten World Highway to increase tourism to the Taranaki region, make the road safer for locals and increase the resilience of the Central North Island’s transport network.

  • Project type

    Road improvements
  • Project status


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The Forgotten World Highway is one of New Zealand’s iconic back country journeys and an important link for local communities, farms, businesses, and visitors.

In 2019 Waka Kotahi, with input from stakeholders, developed a business case which recommended a programme of works to improve the access, safety and reliability of the highway. 

  • Project benefits
    • Encourage visitor flows from Tongariro National Park through to Egmont National Park.
    • Bring more tourism to the area – currently many vehicle rental companies prohibit travel on unsealed roads.
    • Make the road safer and easier to travel.
    • Help realise the potential economic benefits, and tourism and employment opportunities identified in Taranaki’s strategic tourism plan, Tapuae Roa: Make Way for Taranaki; sealing the gorge is a key priority in the plan.
      Tapuae Roa: Make Way for Taranaki(external link)
    • Contribute an estimated $35m to $45m to the region and create new jobs through increased economic activity.
  • SH43 sealing the Tāngarākau Gorge

    The sealing of the 12km of unsealed road that runs through the Tāngarākau Gorge, along with some minor safety improvements, was one of the key recommendations in the business case.

    Sealing of 2km of highway through the gorge was completed June 2022. Work to seal the remaining 10km is currently underway and is expected to be completed in 2025.

  • Other improvements made to the route
    • A new bridge has been built at Pohokura, reinstating the road to two lanes.
    • The Manawawiri Stream culvert has been replaced.
    • More than 220 safety signs have been installed along the route and hazardous trees removed.
    • Guardrails have been installed and more are currently in construction.
    • New signage warning people to look out for people on bikes has been erected at the Moki tunnel.
    • Rest areas along the route have been sealed.
    • A preventative maintenance strategy for the route has been completed.
    • A new two-lane bridge  over Kahouri Stream bridge was recently completed. The project, which also includes a safer road alignment approaching the bridge is expected to be complete in full by  June 2024.

    Around $30m is being invested in the Forgotten World Highway to make the road safer and more accessible for locals and visitors.