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Connecting Tairāwhiti project update


Connecting Tairāwhiti upcoming projects


Tēnā koe,

The Connecting Tairāwhiti programme is making it easier and safer to travel around and between Northern Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti. Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is working together with regional and community partners to significantly improve safety and driver experience on our state highways, create employment opportunities, and provide a more resilient roading network for local communities.

Over the summer, there will be a number of projects happening across the network – check the map above to see what’s happening where. You can see more about all the Connecting Tairāwhiti projects on our interactive map here.



Waioeka Gorge, State Highway 2



Tairāwhiti’s most strategic route, State Highway 2 (SH2) through the Waioeka Gorge, is coming into a busy period as general maintenance and bridge strengthening work begins.

Summer is the best time for maintenance, so our crews are out in force. General maintenance, including resurfacing, is currently underway.

Work to strengthen the Omaukora, Gibson's and Sandy's bridges will begin in January and continue through until April. Strengthening work on Owhiritoa Stream Bridge will begin later in the year. This work is part of a $4 million project to strengthen six bridges along the SH2 Ōpōtiki to Gisborne boundary, bringing them up to High Productivity Motor Vehicle (HPMV) standard. On completion, the project will support regional economic growth and enhance transport connections. Two of the six bridges, Omoko and Aro Aro, were strengthened in 2021 and 2019/20 respectively.

While strengthening work is underway, both lanes on the bridges will remain open and minimal delays are expected. Some restrictions are in place for heavy haulage, and these have been communicated to the industry.

Please be patient and take extra care travelling through our worksites.

For more information, email





Thank you to everyone who provided feedback during the public engagement phase on the resilience and safety business case for SH2 through the Waioeka Gorge. The feedback period was open from 23 September to 1 November and we received over 90 pieces of feedback. The preferred solutions will be recommended in the business case, which is due for completion in early 2022. A further update will be provided after the Waka Kotahi Board has endorsed the recommendations.



Left: Waikoau Hill; right: Mohaka Ascent.



Early next year, work will commence on two slow vehicle bays between Wairoa and Napier on SH2.

The terrain along this stretch of highway is steep and windy, so locations have been identified to create places for vehicles to pass, improving safety for everyone travelling on this corridor.

At Waikoau Hill, 1km south of Lake Tūtira, around 14,000m3 of soil is being carved away from the steep hillside. This will extend an existing slow vehicle bay so drivers have more time to pass slower vehicles.

A new slow vehicle bay is being constructed near the Mohaka Bridge, 2km south of Raupunga. Similar to the Waikoau Hill site, the ‘Mohaka Ascent’ will allow slow vehicles heading south to pull over so other drivers can pass as they reach the uphill stretch after the Mohaka River.

Temporary speed reductions and stop/go traffic management will be in place at both sites during the construction period, and journey times may be delayed by up to 10 minutes on the stretch of highway.

These projects are funded by Waka Kotahi through the 2021-24 National Land Transport Programme (NTLP) and by Kānoa – Regional Economic Development and Investment Unit (formerly the Provincial Development Unit).



Around 13,000 cubic metres of hillside has been excavated to move SH2 west at Raupunga. Left: the site in February. Right: the site in July.



Work is almost complete on the $2.8 million project to realign Raupunga Bluff on SH2, between Napier and Wairoa.

In recent months, paving has been laid on the 600m section of highway that was moved due to erosion under the road caused by the Mohaka River below. Road marking will signal the end of the project in a few weeks.

A tree planting ceremony and karakia will be carried out in the New Year to mark completion of this significant event.



Hatea-a-Rangi School tamariki dressed as engineers for a drone demonstration.



Connecting Tairāwhiti is providing transport solutions to grow and support the region’s economy – and recently, we had the opportunity to grow the region’s future engineers too.

Engineering firm Civil Assist, a local partner in the Connecting Tairāwhiti programme, visited Hatea-a-Rangi School in Tokomaru Bay to give the students a hands-on experience of what’s involved in being an engineer. The tamariki had a drone demonstration, capturing images of the school from above, and then put the engineering process into practice as part of planning the school’s new playground.

Principal Karla Kohatu says it was an exciting experience for the school’s tamariki.

“The process of reimagining our playground really sparked their creative thinking, and it was a great chance to put their problem-solving skills into action. We’re now exploring how our playground can incorporate our local curriculum and bring the stories of our tipuna to life, and we can’t wait to have the Civil Assist team back for the next stage.”

In the meantime, Hatea-a-Rangi School students continue to build their geotechnical engineering knowledge and skills through an online learning programme developed by local engineering company LDE New Zealand, a Waka Kotahi partner working under the Tairāwhiti Roading Panel.

Waka Kotahi’s procurement approach encourages project managers to not only achieve the outcomes for roads but look for secondary benefits that can help communities with growth or economic recovery–in this instance, encouraging more young people into the engineering roles we need for the future.





Connecting Tairāwhiti is helping to build the resilience of SH35.

Want to know more about what makes a road resilient and how we’re working to build better roads around the East Coast?

Check out our website.





  • SH2 Waioeka Gorge (between Gisborne and Ōpōtiki) – Bridge strengthening for HPMV trucks


  • Turihaua Point (near Gisborne) – Coastal protection. Starts early 2022.
  • Busby’s Hill (just south of Tokomaru Bay) – Slope stabilisation. Starts early 2022.


  • SH35 Tatapouri (near Gisborne) – Northbound slow vehicle bay extension. Starts early 2022. 
  • SH2 Otoko Hill – Northbound slow vehicle bay extension and southbound seal widening. Starts early 2022.
  • SH2 Mohaka (near Raupanga) – Slow vehicle bay. Starts early 2022.
  • SH2 Kakariki (near Kotemaori) – Realignment and slow vehicle bay. Starts early to mid-2022.
  • SH2 Waikoau Hill (near Tūtira) – Slow vehicle bay extension. Starts early 2022.



Connecting Tairāwhiti projects aim to drive economic growth and attract investment in the region.

This is being achieved by working with Central Government and spreading work from the programme across a number of engineering consultants, contractors and material suppliers.

Here are some of the great companies we are working with:



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This newsletter will be sent to subscribers every few months and includes updates on active projects, upcoming projects and stories about how our work helps improve access to and across the Tairāwhiti region for locals, visitors and businesses alike.

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For more information or to give feedback, email

Explore our Connecting Tairāwhiti map 

Visit our Connecting Tairāwhiti website

Visit our Passing Opportunities webpage 

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