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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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Drop-in session held in Whangamomona

On 14 July 2020, the community was invited to come to the Whangamomona Hall and meet the project team, and learn more about the sealing project and other exciting improvements planned for the Forgotten World Highway. 

Please email the project team at if you have any questions.


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.

Last year 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. The business case was funded by the Government’s Provincial Growth Fund (PGF).

SH43 sealing the Tangarakau Gorge

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

Following the completion of the business case, Stratford District Council, in conjunction with Waka Kotahi, submitted a successful application for PGF funding for the sealing of the gorge.

We are now working through consents for the project.

NZ Upgrade Programme funded projects

In February 2020, the Government announced funding from the NZ Upgrade Programme for the following projects identified in the business case:

  • Improvements to the Moki Tunnel
  • A preventative maintenance strategy for the route
  • Kohouri Stream Bridge upgrade
  • Passing opportunities, wayfinding and rest areas
  • Safety improvements including guardrail, smart signage and upgraded road marking

Funding was also committed for a new bridge to be built over a damaged culvert at Pohokura and a culvert replacement at Manawawiri Stream.

Investigations and designs and currently underway for these projects. 

A total of $23m is now being invested in the Forgotten World Highway to make the road safer and more accessible for locals and visitors.

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.

Business case

Read the announcement on SH43(external link) from Regional Economic Development Minister Hon Shane Jones.

Learn more about the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF)(external link)

SH43 Forgotten World Highway business case [PDF, 2.1 MB]

Waka Kotahi + NZUP + PGF logos