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Te Awa Kairangi partners adopt alternative delivery programme

NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi, Greater Wellington, Hutt City Council and iwi Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika and Ngāti Toa Rangatira, have agreed to an alternative delivery model for the construction of some components of Te Wai Takamori o Te Awa Kairangi (formerly RiverLink) programme.

Despite these changes, Programme Director Matt Trlin says all five partners are aligned in their commitment to delivering the programme of work, that will transform Lower Hutt by delivering greater flood protection and improved ecological health of the river, better and more connected transport options, and a foundation for a revitalised city centre.

The partners, working through Te Wai Takamori o Te Awa Kairangi Alliance, are in the process of completing an updated concept design and a delivery strategy for the programme.

Mr Trlin says the partners have already used different delivery mechanisms to progress advance works, such as property removals and demolition, geotechnical investigations, the relocation of the skatepark and the construction of the Mills St stopbank.

The partners have agreed it would be appropriate to also deliver further components of the programme outside of the current alliance model, such as the construction of most river works, stopbanks and streetscape works.

The Alliance model will deliver core integrated scope for all partners, which includes a new grade-separated SH2 Melling interchange and Melling Bridge over Te Awa Kairangi / Hutt River, relocation of the Melling train station, new and improved walking and cycling paths, and a new pedestrian bridge linking the relocated train station to the city centre.

Greater Wellington Chair Daran Ponter says in the best interest of ratepayers, delivery of the regional council’s river works has been entrusted to its in-house flood protection team.

“By working directly with contractors, our experts can deliver affordable flood defences to the same standard that seamlessly integrate with our partners’ projects. We’re well equipped to protect Lower Hutt communities from the extreme weather events and floods, predicted from our changing climate,” Cr Ponter says.

Delivery of Te Awa Kairangi’s improvements to roads in the city and streetscapes will be overseen by Hutt City Council’s new specialist in-house team which was set up in December 2023 to streamline infrastructure delivery across Hutt City.

Lower Hutt mayor Campbell Barry says Te Awa Kairangi is an important programme for Hutt City that will bring long-lasting benefits to our region.

“It makes sense for some aspects of the programme, such as local road improvements and streetscape works, that do not require direct integration with the major works, or with flood protection works, to be overseen by the Council’s inhouse experts. It will also enable the council to manage delivery and timing in a way which offers an affordable, best value for money solution.”

NZ Transport Agency Director Regional Relationships Emma Speight says the agency is committed to progressing the Melling Transport Improvements project through the alliance model.

“There’s more work to do to complete the alliance negotiations, but keeping the core integrated partner works and the transport improvements within the alliance builds on the work that’s already been done and our commitment to delivering this project. Strong partnerships are instrumental to delivering the integrated parts of the programme, and we’re working to deliver a safer, more efficient and resilient transport system for the people of the Hutt Valley,” Ms Speight says.

All partners continue their commitment to the programme approach and co-ordination, working with Mana Whenua and to achieving ora tāngata, ora taiao and ora wairua – the wellbeing of people, the environment, and our community.

More Information:

Te Wai Takamori o Te Awa Kairangi programme comprises:

  • crucial flood protection infrastructure for Te Awa Kairangi ki Tai Lower Hutt, safeguarding communities and critical infrastructure from severe weather events
  • a new grade-separated SH2 Melling interchange, Melling Bridge over Te Awa Kairangi / Hutt River, connecting the interchange to the Lower Hutt city centre, relocation of the Melling train station and its park and ride facilities, walking and cycling paths, and a pedestrian bridge link between the relocated railway station and city centre.
  • supporting the opportunity for a revitalised Te Awa Kairangi ki Tai Lower Hutt, improved health of Te Awa Kairangi / Hutt River, and creation of a more liveable city and urban growth prospects.
  • Te Awa Kairangi ki Tai Lower Hutt is the most densely populated flood plain in New Zealand. It has a history of flooding and, with climate change, flooding is likely to become an even more complex and difficult natural hazard to manage. Recent flooding events across New Zealand have demonstrated the need for investment in flood protection infrastructure, and the devastating consequences for unprepared communities.
  • Flood security of Te Awa Kairangi ki Tai Lower Hutt is key. The programme of work includes flood protection for a 1 in 440-year flood event, which has a 0.23% chance of occurring in any year. Te Awa Kairangi flood protection work is expected to safeguard residents from large flood events that could affect up to 3,000 homes, five schools and 600 businesses, with the potential to cause an estimated $1.1 billion worth of damage across the community. This is the design standard set out in the Hutt River Floodplain Management Plan. This plan was developed by Greater Wellington, Upper Hutt and Hutt City Councils and the community in 2001.
  • We’re making the river more accessible, and contributing to the health of Te Awa Kairangi / Hutt River, leaving it better for generations to enjoy. Better links to the river will weave Te Awa Kairangi / Hutt River into the lives of its community.
  • The Interim Project Alliance Agreement (IPAA) was signed in May 2023. The IPAA phase involves a detailed review of the consented design, construction method, and costing.
  • Previously, the entire programme was estimated at around $700 million excluding the cost of property purchases, insurance, initial design, pre-implementation work, consenting and other costs.
  • All partners are still targeting affordable programmes of work through their respective delivery models.
  • The name of the programme is Te Wai Takamori o Te Awa Kairangi – The Soothing Waters of Te Awa Kairangi. It was given by Kura Moeahu, respected iwi leader of Te Āti Awa and Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika.
  • The narrative surrounding the creation of Te Awa Kairangi, is strongly connected to the greater narrative of Te Ara Tupua. The valley formed out of the whipping and lashing tail of Ngake as he broke free from a landlocked lake, where he lived with Whātaitai, to form Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Wellington Harbour.
  • The name chosen for the programme acknowledges the nurturing and caring of the kuia (ancestresses) Hine-wai-tōtā, Hine-kōrako and Hine-wairere to gently heal and soothe the scar Ngake left on Papatūānuku (earth mother). To this day, they continue to nurture and care for her.
  • Te Awa Kairangi, like many rivers began its life through the kuia, being the ancestress of condensation, lunar droplets and water flow gathering on the many peaks on both sides of the valley, running off the land and following into the cracks and crevices within the landscape. The many small tributaries joined together, growing larger forming the collective mass of Te Awa Kairangi, flowing every second of the day.
  • The name is a reminder of the importance of caring for the river, the land, and the environment. A healthy environment is vital to the health and wellbeing of our community.

 

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