Te Ara Tupua is a transformative initiative to establish a dedicated walking and cycling connection between Wellington and Lower Hutt. The project’s primary objective is to create a safe, interconnected, and visually appealing route that encourages more individuals to choose walking or biking as their preferred mode of transportation while also facilitating connections with local pathways in both Wellington and the Hutt Valley.

By providing a high-quality shared path suitable for various users, Te Ara Tupua aims to significantly increase the number of people who walk or ride between the two cities. This shift towards active transportation options will contribute to carbon emissions reduction, leading to improved environmental conditions, and enhancing public health while alleviating strain on other transportation modes.

Moreover, Te Ara Tupua will play a crucial role in supporting regional walking and cycling initiatives such as Te Aranui o Poneke – the Great Harbour Way, and the Remutaka Cycle Trail. These endeavours contribute to local and national tourism, fostering recreational opportunities for residents and visitors alike.

Additionally, implementing this new pathway will enhance the region’s resilience, offering increased protection for the rail line against storms and sea surges. It also ensures future-proofing measures in anticipation of rising sea levels between Ngā Ūranga and Pito-one.

Tonkin + Taylor is the lead designer currently engaged by Waka Kotahi as part of the Te Ara Tupua Alliance. The focus has been on consideration of various coastal sea defence options, required materials, and their constructability to deliver the project within current funding constraints – as well as a solid focus on mana whenua engagement. The sea defences are intended to provide long-term resilience to the cycleway, rail line and state highway.


  • Concept design development
  • Consenting and risk advice
  • Geotechnical design
  • Various coastal sea defence options to provide long-term resilience to the shared path, rail line and state highway
  • Civil and stormwater design scope including longitudinal drainage design of the path and rail drainage, as well as extensions of 26 No. existing cross-culverts which convey stormwater and stream flows under existing State Highway 2 (SH2) and railway line, and through to the new revetment and sea walls
  • Co-ordinated key expert advisors through procurement
  • Advising client on quantitative risk assessment, procurement strategy and project pricing
  • Iwi engagement throughout the design process, with a focus on Honiana Te Puni Reserve, the landings, path graphics, cultural markings and sculptures
  • Construction phase support through provision of a team of construction support/monitoring engineers


  • Waka Kotahi


  • 2021 – ongoing

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