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Te Wai Takamori o Te Awa Kairangi Community Update 1: June 2023

Newsletters, Te Awa Kairangi Project Team, 19 June 2023

Te Wai Takamori o Te Awa Kairangi: New name for next stages of RiverLink project

Mana Whenua have gifted the name of Te Wai Takamori o Te Awa Kairangi – The Soothing Waters of Te Awa Kairangi to the Alliance that will deliver the project previously referred to as RiverLink. The RiverLink project was planned, consulted on and consented between 2019-2021. Elements of the RiverLink programme being delivered by the Alliance will be delivered under the new name.

Mana Whenua Alliance partners Taranaki Whānui ki te Upoko o te Ika and Ngāti Toa Rangatira formally gifted the name and cultural narrative at a pōwhiri held at Te Tatau o te Pō Marae in Lower Hutt on 17 April 2023. The pōwhiri was a momentous occasion for the Project Alliance team and to be officially welcomed by mana whenua into the region and onto this land was a wonderful way to begin our involvement in the project. It was an opportunity to share the name and cultural narrative and clear the way for work to begin.

The name and narrative were given by Kura Moeahu, respected iwi leader of Te Āti Awa and Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika. The narrative acknowledges the story of the tupua Ngake and how the whipping and lashing of his tail created Te Awa Kairangi – Hutt River. The river was created as Ngake broke free from the landlocked lake, where he lived with Whātaitai, to form Te Whanganui-a-Tara.

The name Te Wai Takamori o Te Awa Kairangi for the project, refers to the many waterways that came together to soothe the scars that Ngake left on the land. These waterways feed the river and continue to shape the landscape of the Hutt Valley. The name is a reminder about the importance of caring for the environment.


Introducing Mike Kerr

Mike Kerr has been appointed Alliance Manager for Te Wai Takamori o Te Awa Kairangi. The Alliance Manager is responsible for the overall delivery of the project.

“I grew up and have raised my family in Lower Hutt. I have also established a small business in the area. I’m very passionate about the community and excited about the opportunities that this project provides. While delivering key infrastructure to protect our community from flooding and to create a more vibrant river-facing city, I’m
ensuring the team also remain focused on the wider outcomes this project can achieve, be it through job opportunities, career pathways or supporting new and existing businesses”.

“The team and I are very privileged to work on a project that will bring transformational change to our city. We know that the work may be disruptive to you, your families and businesses, and we’re keen to work together to keep this to a minimum”.


Work currently underway

Since the beginning of June, buildings have started being removed in Pharazyn Street and this will also start shortly in Daly, Marsden and Mills Streets.

These works will:

  • make room for the river by allowing stopbanks to be set further back from the river edge, and improve flood defences
  • prepare the land as we work towards revitalising the Lower Hutt city centre.

The removal of these buildings is a big step. They contain many memories for the people who lived and worked there. Over the past few years, affected tenants have been helped to find alternative accommodation.

Utilities, such as electricity, gas and water are being carefully disconnected to ensure the rest of the neighbourhood remains connected.

As many materials as possible are being recycled. This includes relocating entire houses and engaging with mana whenua and community about repurposing chattels and other items. Land that is cleared by the demolitions will be repurposed, including a temporary carpark site on Daly Street.


About the Alliance

Te Wai Takamori o Te Awa Kairangi is an Alliance partnership between iwi Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika and Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Greater Wellington Regional Council, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, Hutt City Council, AECOM and Fletcher.

The Alliance has been established to deliver the RiverLink project, which includes crucial flood protection and river restoration work, improvements to public transport, walking and cycling routes, local roads and the State Highway 2 Melling Interchange, as well as urban revitalisation of the Lower Hutt city centre.

You can learn more about the project at www.teawakairangi.co.nz