Why are we proposing this connection?
Our city centre is transforming, with lots of public and private sector development happening to create a modern and exciting area for residents and visitors to enjoy. As part of this, we are upgrading key city centre spaces. This will contribute to the revitalisation of our city centre, creating a vibrant and thriving place that we can all feel proud of.
As more people start to call the city centre and broader Te Papa Peninsula home, we want to create more connections to the waterfront for our community. Te Hononga ki Te Awanui will reconnect the city centre to its waterfront and create a high quality and accessible water’s edge experience, where people can spend time and connect with the harbour and coast. In addition, the connection will reflect Tauranga’s uniqueness, recognising the site’s history and significance to mana whenua and provide a connection suitable for walking and cycling. There are also opportunities to enhance the natural environment with features which will encourage marine life to re-establish.
This project has been in the pipeline for over 20 years and has been included in previously adopted Council strategies and plans, such as the City Centre Spatial Framework 2017 and Te Papa Spatial Plan 2020. Consultation on the project undertaken in 2019 revealed a very high level of community support.
Funding for this project is included in the 2021-31 Long-term Plan (LTP). The LTP currently provides for a budget of $18.96 million spread over the next five financial years, however more accurate costings will be developed as part of further design work.
Map of Te Hononga ki Te Awanui
On the map below you will see Te Hononga ki Te Awanui. The connection is envisaged to be a mixture of different surfaces and may vary in width. It will include features to provide education about the area’s environment and heritage and places for people to stop and enjoy the waterfront. We want to enhance the access and experience of the harbour while also protecting the surrounding environment and natural vegetation.
The project is broken into two key stages:
Stage One focuses on the area between the city centre and Tunks Reserve on Elizabeth Street East. Construction of a railway underpass next to the Harbourside Restaurant will provide a shared pathway for pedestrians and those travelling by bike, linking the waterfront boardwalk from The Strand through to Tunks Reserve off the eastern end of Elizabeth Street. A new section of boardwalk will be constructed to join the underpass with the southern end of The Strand to complete the connection. Links to the Avenues and the city will be provided were possible, such as through Tunks Reserve up to Elizabeth Street.
Stage Two of the project is in its infancy and is intended to provide an extended harbour-edge connection between Memorial Park and the city centre. This requires further investigation and engagement with adjoining landowners to develop a responsive and innovative design.
Building on previous community discussions and concepts
The proposed connection was considered in 2007 as part of the Southern Pipeline project but was not progressed further. More recently, submissions to the Long-term Plan and Annual Plan encouraged Council to revisit this project.
From previous engagement, including the most recent in 2019, we have a good understanding of the issues and concerns about the project. We have an initial understanding of some of the technical issues for the pathway given the environment that it would go through, this includes engineering considerations and options, land ownership and consent requirements.
What is happening next?
Later this year, construction will commence on the waterfront boardwalk. In time, people will be able to go between the top of Elizabeth Street, down the new Tunks Reserve walkway, and through the recently installed rail underpass to link with the boardwalk along the water’s edge into the city centre.
The area from Tunks Reserve to Memorial Park (Stage Two) requires further investigation and engagement with adjoining landowners to develop a responsive and innovative design.
The designs are also being prepared working with hapū and iwi representatives to integrate the cultural integrity of the area into the concept. This area forms part of the long and rich history of Tauranga Moana and we want to ensure this is given the mana it deserves.