New bridge and walkway planned for historic Ahu Ahu

News
PUBLISHED: 28 MAR 2024

Plans for a new bridge and walking and cycling path to protect the historical Ahu Project headland are being progressed.

The project combining a new footbridge to replace the bridge destroyed during ex-tropical Cyclone Dovi in 2022, and a path supported by a new rock embankment allowing people to pass around the headland at high tide, has been delayed due to complexities of the Resource Management Act.

“It’s a complex project, building a hard structure in a sensitive coastal environment, and required extensive technical input,” said NPDC Project Manager Lead Sean Cressy. 

“We know there’s widespread community and hapū support for a new bridge and walkway, but we have to go through the legal consent process like everyone else and this has taken longer than expected. The Resource Management Act requires us to ask for public feedback and we're working to meet its requirements.

“We are geared up and ready to deliver the project as soon as we can, but it could still be next year before it all comes together. It’s been a long haul, and we acknowledge it’s frustrating for everyone so thanks for bearing with us,” said Sean.

The plan for the bridge and pathway is being tied together as they make a great route that will help protect the historic Hauranga Pā site that NPDC is required by law to protect.

The construction window would be tight to protect the penguins and other wildlife, but NPDC is working with Taranaki Regional Council on ways to get construction moving quickly without disturbing the wildlife should resource consent be granted.

Hauranga was one of the largest pā in the Tataraimaka district and is recognised as an important boundary marker between the Taranaki tribes to the south and Ngāti Te Whiti to the north. It held significant strategic and symbolic importance to mana whenua before and after European settlement and remains an important marker of whakapapa today.  ​

In recent years, it has been a popular link for walkers and cyclists between the Timaru and Whenuariki streams, and this has damaged the site and exposed and damaged archaeological artefacts.

Caption: An impression of the proposed walkway around the Ahu Ahu headland.