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2021 Core Values Awards Winner | Indigenous (NZ)

IAP2 Australasia Core Values Awards Case study

Te Ara Tupua – partnering with iwi mana whenua to connect two cities | Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency

Highlights at a glance

  • Te Ara Tupua is a planned walking and cycling link between Wellington and Lower Hutt, delivered by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency (Waka Kotahi). The Ngā Ūranga ki Pito-One (Ngauranga to Petone) section is the largest component at
    $170-$200 million NZD, requiring coastal reclamation to build a 5-metre-wide shared path on the harbour coastline.
  • Te Ara Tupua took an innovative approach to collaborating (partnering) with and empowering local iwi mana whenua in Wellington (Taranaki Whānui ki te Upoko o te Ika and Ngāti Toa Rangatira) to develop unique community outcomes in
    the project’s design at the consenting stage.
  • The engagement aimed to establish a partnership (at the IAP2 Collaborate level) with iwi mana whenua, with the aim of understanding and incorporating mana whenua values within the design, environmental package, and delivery.
  • The engagement process began with an early conversation with iwi authorities on how they would like to engage. A steering group was established with representatives from iwi and from Waka Kotahi working in partnership.
  • The steering group collaboratively designed and led the engagement process with uri (members) of the iwi. As partners
    we worked together with wider community stakeholders (at the involve level) on components of the project.

Three key outcomes from engagement:

  • Cultural design and narrative, mana whenua values and principles are embedded in the project’s design.
  • A plan has been designed collaboratively with iwi mana whenua, through a process involving user groups and the local council, to protect and enhance Honiana Te Puni Reserve, a local reserve owned by Taranaki Whānui that will be significantly affected by the project.
  • The project was successfully approved after being fast-tracked through consenting as part of COVID-19 recovery, with the consenting panel noting collaboration with iwi mana whenua as an “exemplar of how that should occur”

Three engagement lessons/learnings:


  •  The importance of working in partnership is growing, but each project is different and each will have unique iwi mana whenua groups affected – one size doesn’t fit all so different approaches to partnership will be needed.
  • Establishing relationships early and integrating appropriately skilled iwi representatives into project governance and leadership is essential for effective engagement in the wider iwi mana whenua community.
  • Standing alongside iwi mana whenua as partners to demonstrate ‘partnership in action’ when engaging with community stakeholders leads to stronger collaboration, broader support for project objectives and the ability to navigate diverse/competing interests and difficult obstacles.