The Ngā Ūranga to Pito-one section of Te Ara Tupua will be built on the harbour’s edge from Ngauranga Interchange to Honiana Te Puni Reserve in Petone connecting to the Pito-one to Melling section. Funding has recently been approved, and Te Ara Tupua Alliance has been formed to design and construct the project.
An alliance is a different way of working together, compared to traditional construction contracts. It is a collaborative team made up of design and construction companies, working together with Waka Kotahi to deliver the project and achieve the best outcomes for the community.
Te Ara Tupua Alliance is made up of Waka Kotahi, Downer NZ, HEB Construction and Tonkin + Taylor, supported by Isthmus, Boffa Miskell and Holmes Consulting.
The project has received resource consents under the new process created by the COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-track consenting) Act.
We lodged our application for consents with the Environmental Protection Authority on 12 October 2020. You can see the full application on the EPA website.
Key elements of the Ngā Ūranga to Pito-one section include:
- Shared Path: A 4.5km shared path with a 5m wide sealed surface on the seaward side of the Hutt Valley Railway Line
- Ūranga (landings): 6 ūranga (landings) located at key sites along the shared path’s length providing areas for planting, landscaping, habitat creation, and gathering, resting and viewing areas.
- Shared path bridge at Ngā Ūranga: A new architecturally designed bridge providing access over the railway.
- A rock revetment: 2.7km of rock embankment protecting the shared path and ūranga. These are designed with the ability to adapt to sea-level rise and are 16m wide on average.
- Seawalls: 6 seawall segments protecting the shared path, totalling 626m in length located and designed to avoid impact on high value habitat areas
- Offshore habitats: 4 small offshore habitats for coastal bird life, constructed of naturalised rock forms, at least 40m horizontal distance from the shoreline.
The harbour-side option was chosen in 2015, following public consultation and consideration of harbour-side and road-side options. The harbour-side option offers a wider path, greater safety and connectivity, access to the coast, and more resilience benefit compared to the road-side option – and was more popular among people who made a submission.
In 2019 we shared our concept design with the community, and received a wide range of feedback. More than 135 people joined us at three community open days and there were more than 3,500 visits to our project map on Social Pinpoint.
Since then we have been working in partnership with mana whenua, and our technical specialists have assessed the concept design – including its ecological, coastal, cultural, resilience and transport effects.
As a result of mana whenua input, community feedback and specialist recommendations we have made some key changes to improve the project ahead of applying for resource consents:
- greater preservation of bird and marine habitat areas, and creation of new habitats
- more opportunities for mana whenua-led design, architecture and art
- path markings to signal spaces for walking and cycling and help keep everyone safe.
We want to make it possible for people to move around our region in more ways. Right now, there is no safe walking and cycling route between Wellington and Lower Hutt. By providing a safe, attractive 5m wide path, separated from motorised traffic, Te Ara Tupua will make it possible for more people to try new and active ways of getting around.
By 2030, we estimate people making over 2000 trips by bike on the path each weekday, as well as 725 walking or running trips and around 160 trips on e-scooters or other devices. Recreational use will see even more people walking, running and enjoying the path at weekends.
More people choosing to walk, run, cycle or scooter means lower emissions from transport and less pressure on our roads and public transport services. The project will also create an amazing new piece of harbour waterfront and contribute to the Great Harbour Way, Te Aranui o Poneke, right around the edge of Te Whanganui a Tara.
Our climate is changing. Waka Kotahi is committed to making it safe and easy to choose clean, low-emissions ways of getting around – like providing safe and enjoyable walking and cycling routes. At the same time, we need to prepare for the effects of climate change, especially on coastal areas.
The coastline between Ngā Ūranga and Pito-one is a crucial infrastructure corridor. Thousands of people and tonnes of freight move along it each day in trains, trucks, cars and buses, and there are important pipelines and cables beneath the surface.
As well as providing a safe way to walk and cycle, Te Ara Tupua’s new seawalls and rock embankments (revetments) will help protect this corridor from the damaging effects of storms. These storms, like the one that washed out the rail line in 2013, will only become more frequent and more severe as our climate changes. The new, resilient coastal edge built as part of the project will help prevent this damage and make train services more reliable.
As well as increased storms, climate change will also cause sea levels to rise. New coastal infrastructure must be able to adapt. When we build this section of Te Ara Tupua, a ‘bench’ in the rock embankment will be included as a foundation for future adaptation. The bench provides a platform to build on.
In the event of a disaster that blocks the road or rail lines, the path will be able to act as a recovery route between Wellington and Lower Hutt. It will be further out from the hills and cliffs, meaning it is less likely to be impacted by land slips that can be caused by heavy rain or by earthquakes.
During recovery from a disaster, or if there’s an emergency on the path, vehicles (like ambulances or fire trucks) will be able to use the path. The rail overbridge at Ngā Ūranga will be strong enough and wide enough to accommodate a range of vehicles – up to and including fire trucks, as it will be built so that heavy vehicles can access the coast during the project’s construction.
While the coastline between Ngā Ūranga and Pito-one has been built on in the past to create our road and rail links, it is home to many different species. Te Ara Tupua will be built in a respectful way that preserves as much of their habitat as possible while ensuring they can continue to live along the coast once the path is complete.
In most areas, the path will be supported by a rock embankment known as a revetment. The boulders that make up the revetment will create a more natural-looking coastal edge and provide some habitat themselves.
Other parts of the coastline are made up of gravel beaches, which are nationally threatened and provide valuable habitat. In these areas we have included a new type of structure to reduce the footprint of the new path.
At the five gravel beaches, a vertical seawall will be used instead of a revetment. The seawall has a much smaller footprint meaning almost all of the gravel beach areas can be preserved. The project will also add groynes to help preserve the beaches into the future. Ecological screens on top of these seawalls will prevent people from accessing the beaches, and reduce disturbance from people on the path to the birds and other species that use these areas.
Both construction and use of the path have potential to disrupt birds along the coastline. To reduce this disruption, we will build offshore habitats that will provide space for birds to roost. These will be built before construction of the path begins so that birds have somewhere to go away from active construction sites.
The coastline between Ngā Ūranga and Pito-one is home to many sites of significance to mana whenua. At Ngā Ūranga was the pā site of Te Wharepouri, while Pito-one was home to the pā of Honiana Te Puni. Both sites are significant to Taranaki Whanui ki te Upoko o te Ika.
Taranaki Whānui have named the path Te Ara Tupua. The name reflects the creation story of Te Whanganui a Tara – the story of Ngake and Whataitai, the tupua (supernatural beings, or phenomena) that created the harbour and its landforms.
Design concepts for project features including the bridge, the ūranga, path surface markings, signage and sculptures have been developed together with Taranaki Whānui to reflect the history of the area and the story of Te Ara Tupua. They will be further developed together with Taranaki Whānui artists and designers as the project continues.