On ANZAC Day 2017, a major slip in the Manawatu gorge rendered the road impassable. The impact on local communities and the wider region was immense. A new route was urgently needed to reconnect the local communities and restore a strategic link between eastern and western Aotearoa.
Te Ahu a Turanga: Manawatu Tararua Highway is a 11.5km rural state highway that will reconnect Ashhurst and Woodville over the Ruahine Ranges.
Five iwi have a connection to the project area. There was a long history of inter-iwi interaction but they had not previously sat around the table together.
In an historic 'first' for Aotearoa, iwi are partners on the Te Ahu a Turanga Alliance: Rangitane o Manawatu, Rangitane o Tamaki nui-a-Rua, Ngati Kahungunu ki Tamaki nui-a-Rua, Te Runanga o Raukawa (Ngati Raukawa and Nga Kaitiaki o Ngati Kauwhata). The approach to building this partnership sets this project apart.
Waka Kotahi involved iwi from the start and challenged themselves and the Alliance to work in a way that respects the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
Iwi partners are represented at governance level and throughout the project; Te Ao Maori is integrated into the design and celebrates the area's rich cultural heritage.
The Alliance's innovative approach to partnership and co-design holds people and culture in the centre, within the wider environmental context. This $620 million project with many complexities has been consented in record time because everyone is paddling in the same direction, on the same waka. The fast-tracked project was conceptualised, consented and designed with construction underway in under 3.5 years. Te Ahu a Turanga provides a new blueprint for major infrastructure projects to work in a way that respects Te Tiriti o Waitangi, strengthens communities, and enhances the natural and cultural environment.