Isthmus GroupNgā Ūranga ki Pito-one. Resilient Pathway.
Submission # 134
Environmental – Kaupapa Taiao
Identity – People & Culture
Identity – Place
Wellington, Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara
Ngā Ūranga ki Pito-One is a proposed five-kilometre stretch of shared coastal pathway that will connect Wellington and the Hutt Valley along a restored harbour edge, building more resilience into this vital transport connection.
The constrained coastal corridor means that additional land will have to be created; consenting to a varied reclamation along the edge of Te Whanganui a Tara required a very high bar to be met under the provisions of the NZ Coastal Policy Statement and the Resource Management Act.
Several alternative routes were developed for public consultation with the harbour-side option chosen because it offered a wider path, greater safety and connectivity, access to the coast, and greater resilience benefits.
Isthmus has worked closely with Waka Kotahi, Taranaki Whānui ki te Upoko o te Ika, local authorities, and an extensive consultant team to design a solution that meets the cycling and walking objectives and reconnects the community with the coastal edge. To do so involved navigating complex statutory requirements, the protection and restoration of existing habitats, coastal edge planting for new terrestrial habitats, and resolving complex technical constraints over land and sea.
As part of the consent team, Isthmus developed the overall masterplan for the project with inputs further supported by a landscape and visual assessment, simulations, and a comprehensive CEDF (Cultural and Environmental Design Framework). In early 2021 (eight years after the project began), Te Ara Tupua was approved by an Expert Consenting Panel under the Covid-19 Recovery (Fast-track Consenting) Act.
A land-people-culture approach led to an overarching vision to restore the mana and mouri of Ngā Ūranga ki Pito-one. This stretch of coastline is a revered cultural landscape, the path of important ancestors, and home to many sites of significance to mana whenua. 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 along with the bays and headlands between them. Listening to mana whenua revealed the names and stories of this landscape—the design vision reconnects these sites of significance with the people and ecology of the coastline.
The name Te Ara Tupua (The Ancient Pathway) was gifted by Kura Moeahu of Taranaki Whānui as an acknowledgment to the guardians of the harbour, Ngāke and Whātaitai, the two tupua who created Te Whanganui a Tara. The project is the coastal section of Te Ara Tupua, a shared path that will make cycling, walking, skating, scooting, and running between Wellington and the Hutt Valley a safe and attractive option for more people. Meaning less emissions from transport and less pressure on roads and public transport services.
The design rationale is intentional in acknowledging the scale and significance of the dynamic physical landscape, whilst celebrating and breathing life into this layered cultural landscape. The harbourside route creates an opportunity to naturalise the highly modified coastal edge and preserve and enhance terrestrial and marine habitats. Eco-sourced native plants will further naturalise the restored coastal edge.
Key to the success of the project is the partnership the project team formed with mana whenua to develop a set of project-specific design principles and a Kaitiaki Strategy which embedded mātauranga māori at all levels to guide design outcomes.
This integrated approach to the design meant that te ao māori was embedded into the ‘bones’ of the project informing, for example, the way that the new land has been shaped to include named ūranga (new landings), as well as the cultural expression of features on the land. Design concepts for project features including the bridge over the rail corridor, the ūranga gathering spaces, path surface markings, signage and sculptures have been developed together with Taranaki Whānui to reflect the history of the land and people.
The team worked closely with the mana whenua steering group to integrate cultural expression into a sequence of design elements, as a hīkoi wānanga, a journey to celebrate the harbour and Te Ara Tupua. Local iwi artist Len Hetet, Baked Design Ltd, developed a resource of concepts, narratives and naming conventions to bring to life the overarching story of Te Ara Tupua. These concepts will be further developed with Taranaki Whānui artists and designers as the project continues.
A diverse shared walkway that integrates itself into the coastal line that is complimentary to the waters edge. I really like the ūranga gathering spaces along the stretch, they're are the gems this walkway. They give people the opportunity to stop, reflect on the gorgeous scenery around inbetween their morning gossip walk or intense run. What makes it significant is the cultural influences that are cleverly placed, as they say the 'bones' of the project. The history of land and people told synonymously through visual cues is brilliant.
Credits & Collaborators: Blank - Taranaki Whānui ki te Upoko o te Ika (Taranaki Whānui)—Mana whenua Partners Blank - AECOM—Engineering Blank - Beca—Planning Blank - Boffa Miskell—Ecology Blank - Baked Design Ltd—Artist
More by Isthmus Group