Cobham Drive Cycleway Opens.

The new 1.4km walking and biking paths along the Cobham Drive foreshore is now officially open after being blessed by Taranaki Whānui ki te Upoko o te Ika.  The ribbon was cut on this important segment of the route around the harbourcrucial link in the wider cycle network. 

This part of the Te Whanganui a Tara coast holds strong connections for mana whenua iwi (Taranaki WhānuiNgāti Toa Rangatira). Taranaki Whānui has worked closely with the project team (made up of Isthmus, Calibre, Tonkin + Taylor and Downer), and Wellington City Council on aspects of the design. They gifted the name Tahitaione tide, one journeyfor the harbour-side walking and biking route around Akau Tangi (Evans Bay) between Miramar and the central city.

The blessing was held at the upgraded beach area beside Evans Bay Marina, where the name Te Awa a Taia features. This was the name for the sea channel between Motu Kairangi islandnow Miramar peninsulaand the mainland. It is thought this channel disappeared in the mid-1400s after a huge earthquake. 

In addition to making Wellington a better place to walk, bike, or skate, this project is helping revitalise this coastal recreation area with landscaping and planting, rock revetment to provide greater resilience along the coastal edge, seating and viewing platforms. A focus on protecting and enhancing areas for wildlife included relocation of grass skink and protection of nesting sites, planting to encourage diverse habitats and ongoing pest management working with Anita Benbrook from WCC as a consultant for coastal planting regeneration.

Isthmus Board appointment

Introducing Danny Tuato'o

When the Board of Isthmus decided to search for a second Independent Director last year we sought a specific combination of skills and experience – a legal background, a deep understanding and connection to Te Ao Māori, and a good understanding of risk management. We found all of those qualities in Danny Tuato’o.

Danny is a descendent of Tiakiriri Kukupa and Te Parawhau, a Whangārei based hapū affiliated to both Ngāti Whātua and Ngāpuhi. Danny brings a grounded approach and a connection to people and whenua from Dunedin to Whangārei, where he lives and works.

Danny’s values POU TOKOMANAWA (backbone – ridgepole of the meeting house), TIKANGA (Purpose. Motivation. Direction), AKO (to learn), MANAWANUI (Big heart), WHAKAPAPA (Connection to place and people—relationships) are a great fit with Isthmus.

Danny has a deep connection to his moana and his whenua; he lives his whakapapa through his work. Married with 4 kids, Danny is an equity partner with a Northland law firm. He is a Board member of Maritime New Zealand and is also the Chair of the Whangārei Heads Landcare Forum (he lives on a lifestyle block at Whangārei Heads which he is replanting in natives).

We are delighted to welcome Danny Tuato’o to our Board. In his own words:

Hei hōnore māku ki te whakauru ai i te whānau o Isthmus, arā, he kaitohu hou.
Its an honour for me to join the Isthmus family, as a new director.

Ehara tāku toa i te toa takitahi engari he toa takitini
My strength is not as an individual, but as a collective.

RiverLink Open Day.

The second RiverLink open day (for this phase of the project) was held at the Lower Hutt Events Centre last weekend giving the public an opportunity to view the latest masterplan and discuss the project with the client and consultant team. The open day built on the indicative design that was shared with the public last November and revealed more details of what the proposed improvements to Te Awa Kairangi / Hutt River will look like and the phases in which the project will be constructed (it will involve at least four years of major construction work).

This phase of RiverLink has been design-led by Isthmus in partnership with the engineers and planners of Tonkin+Taylor, GHD and Holmes Consulting. The design strives to integrate a new grade-separated interchange at Melling (including a new road bridge across the river), improved flood protection (widening the river corridor), enhanced walking, cycling and public transport links, and urban regeneration of key sites on the city edge for residential and commercial use.

RiverLink is a unique project that will transform the relationship between Lower Hutt and the river that it was founded beside, Te Awa Kairangi. The team are working towards finalising the design before applying for designations and resource consents in mid 2021.

About RiverLink
RiverLink is a partnership between Greater Wellington Regional Council, Hutt City Council, and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.  Collectively, the RiverLink partnership is investing over $450 million to revitalise Te Awa Kairangi / Hutt River. The project team is also working closely with Taranaki Whānui ki te Upoko o Te Ika and Ngāti Toa Rangatira as mana whenua to create a more resilient, more connected, more vibrant city.  

The Te Wānanga Design Partnership.

Collaborative Design with Mana Whenua.

Te Wānanga joins other Isthmus projects Kopupaka Reserve and Taumanu Reserve as a Māori Design Case Study on Te Pokapū Whakatairanga Tikanga Māori, Auckland Council’s Māori Design Hub.

Te Wānanga case study outlines the design partnership with mana whenua, which mandated the Kāhui Kaiarataki collective (Māori ecology & design specialists) to collaboratively develop the design of Te Wānanga.

For us, the collaborative design process has not only delivered a more meaningful design but has enabled positive and ongoing working relationships with Mana Whenua. The process of working with mana whenua and alongside the Kāhui group has enabled a deeper understanding and articulation of cultural values at Te Wānanga.

The Kāhui Kaiarataki process included regular studio co-design wānanga with the design team. This co-design process was undertaken kanohi ki kanohi, pokohiwi ki pokohiwi (face-to-face and shoulder-to-shoulder) in numerous studio and workshop sessions.

Key themes and values were discussed and then developed from concept through to detailed design. All design thinking was presented back to Mana Whenua for feedback in monthly hui.

This approach enabled a stronger recognition and integration of Mana Whenua values and design thinking throughout the programme.

As a result, Te Wānanga incorporates marine and terrestrial habitats to support the restoration of mauri (essence) and place, and to recognise the mana (standing/respect) of Te Waitematā.

To read the full case study click here.

Te Wānanga is currently under construction will be completed by the end of April and open to the public in May 2021, the video below offers an insight into the works taking place on site.

Ngā Ūranga ki Pito-One shared path receives consent.

We are happy to share that the Ngā Ūranga ki Pito-One (Ngauranga to Petone) section of Te Ara Tupuathe shared path connecting Wellington and Lower Hutt has been approved by an Expert Consenting Panel. 

The project was considered under the Covid-19 Recovery (Fast-track Consenting) Act and is the first Waka Kotahi project to be approved under the legislation. 

“This will be the Wellington region’s largest ever walking and cycling project, made even more complex by the need to work in the harbour’s coastal environment. The consent decision reflects the hard work by Waka Kotahi and our partners over the last few years to ensure we get the right environmental outcomes as part of this essential transport link” says Waka Kotahi Director of Regional Relationships Emma Speight. 

For the past 18 months Isthmus together with the wider team have been developing the consent designs for the project, which incorporate mana whenua aspirations, community feedback, and carefully address the effects of the project and its construction on the coastal environment. 

If implementation funding is approved, the first enabling work on the project could begin in mid-2021. Work to complete the project will take approximately three years. 

To find out more see the press release by Waka Kotahi.

Ōmarukaikuru / Point Jerningham.

Ōmarukaikuru / Point Jerningham, Stage 1 of the Evans Bay Cycleway, is complete and quickly becoming a much-loved extension to Wellington’s already impressive waterfront.

We’ve been working closely with Welllington City Council and AECOM to design safe off-road cycle and pedestrian path around the coastal edge that celebrates Ōmarukaikuru’s unique sense of place and significant sites along the harbour edge. This has involved connecting the intermittent sections of seawalls and creating a lower path with gathering spaces, lookout areas and access to the water. Emphasising Ōmarukaikuru / Point Jerningham as a place to pause and reflect, and to enjoy the harbour.

The design features several lookout structures, coastal access points, seating and other bespoke furniture items. A simple and rustic material palette of precast concrete for the structures, exposed aggregate and asphalt to give clear cues for users of the paths, and corten steel for the feature structures is softened by hardwood timber inlays and hardy planting.

Of note are the faceted modular precast retaining or ‘transition wall’ units, which draw on the forms of the natural rock formations of the coast below and provide vertical separation between the paths and lookout areas. The dramatic pattern you see emerging was created through the careful choreography of 11 different precast blocks.

Previously, access down to the water and rocks involved jumping a fence. Now, new seating platforms encourage access, in a way that is sympathetic to the existing rock-forms and sized to be penguin-proof.

The new seaward pedestrian and cycle path forms part of the Tahitai (one tide, one journey) route that, once complete, will connect the city to Te Motu Kairangi (Miramar Peninsula). We are proud to be involved in a project that brings together the area’s natural history, it’s cultural significance to mana whenua, and safe transport routes for people of all ages and abilities.