Great Harbour Way/Te Aranui o Pōneke – a spectacular plan coming ever closer to reality

Today’s government decision to help fund the Eastern Bays Shared Path through Eastbourne is fantastic news for walkers and cyclists, and a major leap forward for pioneers of Wellington’s visionary Great Harbour Way/Te Aranui o Pōneke trail.

“This is another piece in the jigsaw that will make the Great Harbour Way one of the finest walking and cycling paths in the country,” GHW chair Graeme Hall said. “We expect the experience of walking or cycling this astonishing trail, with its varied landscapes and historic sites, to attract
outdoor enthusiasts of all kind and greatly boost the Wellington region’s economy.”

The announcement comes on top of June’s decision to fund Te Ara Tupua, the section of the Great Harbour Way linking Petone and Ngāūranga, as one of the government’s 11 large infrastructure projects.

“The vision is being realised,” Hall said. “We will have a pathway to match the great trails of Aotearoa, as well as an alternative way for people to get to work. “Cyclists and walkers will within the next few years not only be able to safely walk or ride from Baring Head to Red Rocks, but also to link into the Remutaka Cycle Trail and the Wairarapa Five Towns Trail.”

The new path will serve a double purpose, including seawall protection and reinstatement of power, gas and fibre lines, Hall said. Hutt City Council will need to match this level of government investment to deliver the tremendous benefits of this project to the Hutt and Wellington region
communities. “When the project is completed, all Wellingtonians and visitors will have the opportunity to catch the ferry to Eastbourne and safely walk or cycle back to the city and beyond.”

Contact: Graeme Hall, Great Harbour Way Trust Chair, +6421606101

Stuff: century old project gets the go ahead

Below Stuff’s article on the Government announcement to fast track the Great Harbour Way path as part of its ‘shovel-ready projects’. The article focuses on the benefit for cyclists, but obviously it is a huge benefit for walkers as well and tourism in general. Fantastic news indeed!

https://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/wellington-top-stories/121846974/wellingtons-other-centuryold-troubled-transport-project-finally-gets-going

Two-city link “a dream come true”

Press release from the Great Harbour Way Trust

A key group that has fought for nearly two decades for the creation of a safe cycling and walking link between Wellington and Petone says the government’s announcement that the project will be fast-tracked is “a dream come true”.

Graeme Hall, chair of the Great Harbour Way/Te Aranui o Poneke Trust, said the trail, Te Ara Tupuna, would change the face of Wellington and introduce people of all ages to new activities and new views of the harbour. “While the primary purpose is to allow people to walk and cycle safely between the two cities, the trail will also feature viewing and fishing spots, beautiful artwork, and attractive landscaping. It will rapidly become a hugely popular attraction with both locals and tourists.”

Hall said the group had been given a preview of the design and had “been completely blown away”. “NZTA has done a truly world-class job,” he said. “Everything has been thought of, including safety, night lighting, shelter, and natural habitat protection. The design is highly impressive.”

The Great Harbour Way project had its genesis in 2003, when a group of women led by former city councillor Mary Varnham walked the harbour perimeter over three days and realised it offered something almost unique in the world as all the land by the water was in public ownership. The only gap was Petone to Ngauranga. “Once this is complete, it will enable the whole route to be developed.” Hall said.  “It’s an exciting prospect.” 

One of the most active members of the trust, Alastair Smith, a passionate cyclist who was tireless in his advocacy for the project, died last November after a long battle with cancer. “We will be raising a celebratory glass to Alastair,” Hall said. 

For further information and comment contact Graeme Hall at 021606101, Graeme@Rutherfordsloan.co.nz

Great Harbour Way welcomes NZTA consultation but says lives are at risk

The Petone-Ngauranga foreshore route is blocked now, but this is set to change

Great Harbour Way Trust Chair Graeme Hall says “The Ngauranga to Petone path will form a vital section of Wellington’s Great Harbour Way / Te Aranui o Pōneke – a continuous 72-kilometre route for walkers and cyclists around the perimeter of Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington harbour), from Ōrua- pouanui /Baring Head in the east, to Te Rimurapa / Sinclair Head in the west. It will be a spectacular way to experience the beauty of Te Whanganui-a-Tara, the region’s vibrant communities, and its stunning coastline and wildlife including lizards, seals, dolphins, penguins
and seabirds.”

Trustee Celia Wade-Brown, former Wellington Mayor and Living Streets Aotearoa Secretary, says “The NZTA designs show plenty of space for resting and enjoying the landscape as well as running, walking or cycling. Kayakers can come up to landing spots like the waka used to come up to ngā uranga or landing places. This project offers signifcant opportunities for improving penguin habitat, predator control and native planting. Obvious benefits include greater resilience to climate change sea level rise and increased storms for the Hutt Valley railway and SH2.”

However with the length of time for consultation, consents and construction, the Trust urges NZTA to improve the existing pathway and protect walkers, runners and cyclists from passing traffic. “If it will be three or four years before it’s finished, lives will be at risk unless the current 1.4 kilometres of unprotected shoulder south of Petone is improved from its current dreadful state.” Says Ron Beernink, a commuter cyclist and trustee of the Great Harbour Way Trust.

The completed Great Harbour Way will offer a unique opportunity to walk, run or cycle the entire coastline of a major city harbour, accessing communities, beaches, forest, parks, marae, marinas, cafes, theatres and shopping along the way. This flat, safe and continuous route along the water’s edge will be possible to walk in 3-5 days, and to cycle in 1-2. The route is also connected by ferries, buses, trains so sections can easily be accessed.

Check out the NZTA project page, including images and video. There’s a very cool SocialPoint site where you can make comments on the route. Everybody can have their say on the proposed design, by 21 June 2019.

NZTA concept for path at Horokiwi

Improved cycle/walk path between Point Howard and Days Bay

Pedestrians and cyclists on a climate change event, Mahina Bay

Currently walking and cycling the GHW between Point Howard and Days Bay on the eastern side of the harbour is not a pleasant experience. Only a very narrow strip has been allocated to cyclists and pedestrians with little separation from traffic.

However, Hutt City Council has applied for resource consent to construct a 4.4km shared path along Marine Drive between Point Howard and Days Bay, and on to Eastbourne. When completed, this will be a significant upgrade to the Great Harbour Way/ Te Aranui o Pōneke. It will be important to ensure that the path has appropriate width, speed management and signage to ensure safe and enjoyable sharing for people on foot, bike, and scooters.