About Te Ara o Te Ata: Mt Messenger Bypass

About Te Ara o Te Ata: Mt Messenger Bypass

A new 6 km bypass that crosses our rohe from Uruti to Ahititi is being built by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency to avoid the existing steep, narrow and winding route over Mt Messenger on State Highway 3. The project, Te Ara o Te Ata, which we support, includes a large and significant environmental programme.

Why a bypass is needed

As many of us of know, the existing road is unsafe and unreliable. About 2,500 vehicles go over Mt Messenger and through its narrow tunnel daily, including large trucks, and the road is no longer fit for purpose. Rockfalls and landslips are common and repairing the narrow road is becoming more problematic. Some locals are reluctant to drive over it.

As manawhenua we are exercising our duty to manaaki others in our rohe and support Waka Kotahi’s mission to save lives and reduce serious injuries on the highway.

The new route

The Mt Messenger Bypass is lower and less steep than the existing route and avoids the Waipingao Valley and Parininihi area that is home to our re-introduced kōkako. The bypass design includes two bridges of approximately 125m and 30m length and a 235m tunnel.

Restoring the environment

The project’s substantial environmental restoration programme is a major highlight of Te Ara o Te Ata. For us, protecting Parininihi for our mokopuna and their mokopuna is paramount. The programme provides a long-term approach to saving our native forest, birds and animals, and our waterways, which are threatened by introduced pests and predators. This environmental programme involves pest management over 3,650 ha, restoration planting and measures to ensure taonga wildlife species are protected before, during and following construction. 

Treading lightly on the land as much as possible guides the project.

The Mt Messenger cableway

A first for New Zealand roading, the 1.1km Mt Messenger Cableway will allow Waka Kotahi and its partners to start construction of Te Ara o Te Ata: Mt Messenger Bypass in spring 2022.

Quick links
Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Tama
PO Box 143 Waitara
E: ngatitamataranaki@gmail.com
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