Dawn ceremony marks start of Coastal Walkway extension

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PUBLISHED: 5 JUL 2024

The planting of a tree this morning marked an exciting milestone for the eagerly awaited Coastal Walkway extension from Waitara to Mangati/Bell Block, which is due to get underway next week.

Manukorihi, Otaraua, Pukerangiora and Puketapu hapū hosted the dawn ceremony at Otupaiia Marine Park in Waitara. The pathway is co-designed by NPDC and ngā hapu, with the support of Te Kotahitanga o Te Atiawa Trust, and construction of stage one will begin next week.

“The tree signifies the beginning of the Te Pae o te Rangi project,” says Ngā Hapū representative, Anaru Wilkie.

“The walkway extension will see a lot of activity – people walking, running, biking, skateboarding – and they’ll be connecting with unique stories of the whenua along the pathway.”

New Plymouth Mayor Neil Holdom and representatives from New Plymouth Airport and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency were among dignitaries at the ceremony, also attended by members of the Waitara community and the general public.

Stage one will be built from Otupaiia to the intersection of Brown and Tate roads and is due for completion in the middle of next year. All of the project’s stages are scheduled to be completed by the end of 2027.

“It’s fantastic that after our years of planning, we’ve got to this point: blessing the project right before physical works begin,” says NPDC Manager Infrastructure Rui Leitao.

“Stage one has some lovely features, including native plants, rest areas and some alternative paths that connect with nature, as well as new paths within Otupaiia Marine Park to create a clear link to the Waitara River shared pathway.”

When completed, the 9.7km pathway between Waitara and Mangati will be a great experience for walkers, runners and bike-riders taking in rich historical, natural and culturally important sites, says Rui.

This construction project has been gifted the name Te Pae o te Rangi – The Ledge of the Heavens. It refers to the pathway connecting our land to the water and providing a space for people to rejoin our environment.

The early work of stage one will be in Otupaiia as NPDC builds raised pedestrian crossings on the park’s ring road and makes changes to the car park. Access to the beach and river will be maintained but there will be a short closure of the car park, and people are asked to follow the direction of diversion signs for their safety.

More information about the project is online at npdc.govt.nz/WalkwayExtension.

Fast facts

  • The Coastal Walkway is currently 13.2km long; the project will extend this distance to almost 23km.
  • Planning for the Coastal Walkway began in 1997. Construction of the first 7km (New Plymouth CBD to Waiwhakaiho River) began in October 1999 and was completed in December 2001, with the most recent section (Ellesmere Avenue to Bell Block Beach) completed in 2014.
  • The Coastal Walkway has won several awards including the New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects Gold Award (2002), the New Zealand Institute of Builders Supreme Award (2006), the Arthur G. Hayden Medal from the International Bridge Conference for Te Rewa Rewa Bridge (2011) and the New Zealand Recreation Association’s Outstanding Project Award (2011).
  • NPDC looks after 82km of walkways throughout the district and 68ha of coastal dunes.