Tupua Horo Nuku

Keep informed about the new seawall and shared path being built in the Eastern Bays!

About Tupua Horo Nuku 

The Tupua Horo Nuku project involves the construction of a 4.4-kilometre walking and cycling path along Marine Drive between Ngau Matau (Point Howard) and Eastbourne. The path will provide a safer route for those walking and cycling in the area; encourage these active modes of transport which will help reduce congestion and improve health and well-being; and better connect local communities between the bays, as well as join up with other trails in the Hutt City walking and cycling network.

A new seawall is also being built along the corridor which will be the platform for the path and improve the resilience of Marine Drive by providing protection against storms and waves, along with coastal erosion.

The name Tupua Horo Nuku evokes the narrative of the Tupua (spiritual phenomena) called Ngake, one of the two creators of Wellington Harbour in traditional Māori narrative. The name was gifted to the project by Te Atiawa Taranaki Whānui, as part of the partnership between iwi and Hutt City Council.

New shared path open in Mā-koromiko

The new shared path in Mā-koromiko is now finished and open to the public!

An event was held on Sunday 19 November to celebrate this milestone with karakia, speeches and perfomances from local school children, then the chance for people to walk, cycle and scoot along the shared path for the first time.

Check out the full story here

Ma-koromiko opening 19 Nov

Construction & Design

January 2024

Sunshine Bay
Our construction site at Sunshine Bay has been re-established.

The crew made great progress in 2023 with:

  • Up to 390 metres of the foundation in place for the precast seawall blocks to be installed on top of
  • 140 seawall blocks installed.

We’ve also started work replacing the ageing sewer main that runs under Marine Drive through Sunshine Bay. This critical infrastructure upgrade will be completed in stages and is expected to be finished by mid-June 2024. Please see ‘Traffic management’ for a map showing approximate dates and locations of each stage, which will require a 24/7 seaward-side lane closure.


With the shared path and seawall now complete in Mā-koromiko, there are just some minor works to be carried out at the southern end of the bay. Before we can start this final part, we need a wildlife permit signed off by the Department of Conservation allowing us to trap and relocate ngārara (lizards) to other suitable habitat.

York Bay

York Bay is the next bay in our sequencing of works.

  • We’ve completed the designs for this bay and are now finalising construction plans.
  • We expect to begin construction in January 2024 and complete work in the bay by late-2024.

Whiorau Reserve

Construction of a 1.2m high wooden fence along the reserve’s edge began in November 2023 with surveying and preparation. Construction will resume in January and the fence should be finished by early March.

The fence will separate the road and the shared path and cycleway from the reserve and the kororā that live there. It will help prevent kororā from walking onto the road at night and it will help keep dogs on the path and out of the area.

Sunshine Bay

A 24/7 seaward-side lane closure will be in place from 8 January 2024 until approximately mid-June 2024. This is necessary for safety reasons, as we’ll be digging a significant trench in the seaward-side lane to install the new sewer main pipe (see construction update for more info).

The approximate timing and location of each stage is shown on this map. Please note that all lane closures will be on the seaward side, except stage five which will be on the landward side.

Sunshine Bay Waste Water Works

York Bay and Whiorau Reserve

The team is back on site in York Bay & Whiorau Reserve. When they’re on site, there will be a temporary lane closure between 9am and 4pm, Mondays to Fridays. There may also occasionally be some Saturday work between 7am and 2pm.

This temporary lane closure will have active stop/go management to keep delays to a minimum.

This map shows the approximate location of the temporary seaward-side lane closure for York Bay and Whiorau Reserve.

York Bay & Whiorau Reserve - Jan24

A round of consultation on the draft designs for Ngau Matau/Pt Howard, Sorrento Bay and Whiorau / Lowry Bays wrapped up in December 2023. We’re collating feedback now and we’ll be evaluating what changes can be incorporated from your feedback in the early part of 2024. Thanks to everyone who shared their feedback.

A summary of comments and responses and any further information on the plans will be provided in the next stage as they progress towards certification.

Details of the comments and responses received during the consultation for previous bays are available from the summary report in the Project Documents section of this page.

Bird Protection Areas

Bird Protection Areas are required to be established at Whiorau Reserve, Bishop Park, HW Shortt Park and a small area of rock in Sorrento Bay as part of the consent conditions for the Tupua Horo Nuku project. These areas provide nesting opportunities for kororā (little blue penguins) and protect the nesting sites of tōrea pango (variable oystercatchers) and other native seabirds that may be displaced during and following construction

Establishing the Bird Protection Area in Whiorau Reserve will involve construction of a 1.2m high wooden fence. The fence will separate the road and the shared path and cycleway from the Reserve and the kororā that live there. It will help prevent kororā from walking onto the road at night and it will help keep dogs on the path and out of the area. Construction of the fence will involve a shoulder closure during work hours, which will be an extension of the York Bay lane.

Whiorau Reserve BPA - Plan

The Bird Protection Area at Bishop Park will  include a 1.2m fence along the dune and a rope barrier along the walkways and on the seaward side.

Weed control work will be completed during February 2024 to control marram grass and a range of other weed species currently present in the dunes. This will include weed control spraying in the areas marked for ‘rear dune planting’ on the map.
Fencing of the Bird Protection Area at Bishop Park will begin in March 2024.

Both of these activities will pave the way for dune restoration to begin in July with the reintroduction of native species and a number of artificial kororā nests.

Bishop Park BPA - Plan

A Bird Protection Area has been established along the foreshore in front of HW Shortt Park. It includes the following:

  • Signage identifying the area as nesting habitat
  • Penguin nest boxes
  • The timber fence between the foredune area and the park has been repaired and upgraded.
  • A suspended rope barrier along the seaward perimeter
  • Additional predator traps

Bird Protection Area

Weed control work will be completed in March 2024 and planting of native species throughout the nesting habitat and foredune area will take place in June 2024 to continue the restoration work already completed and build on the legacy of the Eastbourne Dune Group.

HW Shortt Park BPA - Plan

The Eastern Bays coastline is home to protected native bird species including the little blue penguins (kororā) and the variable oystercatcher (tōrea pango). Protection of these birds and their habitat is an important part of the Tupua Horo Nuku project, with particular focus given to kororā - an at-risk bird species.


An estimated 700 little kororā live in and around Wellington Harbour, with 60-70 estimated to be living along the Eastern Bays coastline. They come ashore at all times of the year but spend more time on land when they’re breeding and moulting between July to February, requiring protected areas to do so safely.

During our works and in the longer-term, we’re doing all we can to minimise risks to the kororā including:

  • carrying out surveys to locate burrow sites before construction begins in each bay
  • creating exclusion zones around any nests and moulting birds to signal no works can take place in those zones until the penguins leave of their own accord
  • creating bird protection areas (BPAs) in Whiorau Reserve, Bishop Park and HW Shortt Park
  • managing the risk of dogs to kororā by excluding them from the BPAs
  • installing traps to manage pest animals in the BPAs
  • placing warning signs around the BPAs to deter people and dogs from entering those spaces, as well as information boards outlining habitat requirements of/threats to kororā
  • holding educational events and activities to increase public awareness of the kororā.

Kororā on nest

You can help protect our feathered friends by:

  • keeping dogs on leads and considering training them to steer clear of birds
  • never throwing plastic and rubbish into the sea, as well as picking up any you see on the beach or in the water
  • joining local trapping groups to help control predators (go to miro.org.nz for more information)
  • joining local planting groups to help revegetate natural habitats.

We have boxes for nesting kororā in the bird protection areas, so when you’re walking along the beach you can:

  • check for kororā footprints and let the Department of Conservation (DOC) know if you see some. Contact DOC by phoning 0800 362 468
  • talk to others and share information about the bird protection area
  • contact DOC or a local veterinary clinic if you find a sick, injured or dead kororā.


Oystercatchers also live along these shores. A BPA in Sorrento Bay includes a roughly 200 square metre area that’s a known breeding site for these birds.

Specific elements of the design include:

  • a fence to keep dogs out and screen breeding oystercatchers and theiryoung from people using the shared path
  • traps targeting key predators of the oystercatchers (mustelids, hedgehogs and rats)
  • information boards describing the biology, life cycle and threats of/to these birds, as well as signs advising of the presence of nesting oystercatchers.


As their name suggests, the kororā (little blue penguin) are the smallest species of penguin.

They are the most common species found around all coasts of New Zealand with an estimate 700 birds being right here in Te Whanganui-a-Tara.

Kororā are a medium blue to dark indigo-blue colour with white underparts. They come ashore annually to moult and during this period, dorsal surfaces may be pale brown while their hooked bill is dark grey and their legs and feet are off-white.

Males are slightly larger than females, with more robust bills and recently fledged young are bright blue dorsally, and markedly smaller than adults.

They are primarily nocturnal on land, returning to nesting areas at dusk congregating in small groups or 'rafts' offshore. Their traditional nests are in underground burrows, under vegetation, in crevices, between rocks or in caves however since people came onto the coastal scene, kororā have also taken to nesting under houses and boat sheds, in stormwater pipes, and stacks of timber.

They live up to their scientific name ‘eudyptula’ meaning 'good little diver', as they are excellent pursuit hunters in shallow waters and can ‘fly’ through water at speeds of up to 6km/per hour.

1. Kororā - Rock

Dog Control Bylaws

Hutt City Council is seeking community feedback on proposed changes to dog access in and around the four new Bird Protection Areas (BPAs) in the Eastern Bays.

The BPAs are required under consent conditions for Tupua Horo Nuku to provide nesting opportunities for kororā (little penguins) and protect the nesting sites of tōrea pango (variable oystercatchers) and other native seabirds that may be displaced during and following construction.

To protect the birds effectively, changes are being proposed within Hutt City Council’s Dog Control Bylaw to restrict dog access in and around these areas.
You can find all relevant information at hutt.city/EBdogs

You can provide your feedback by completing the submission form on the website between 1 February and 1 March 2024 or by posting a submission to Hutt City Council, Private Bag 31-912, Lower Hutt 5040.

Consultation closes at 5pm, 1 March 2024.
There will be an opportunity to speak on your submission at a Hearings Subcommittee meeting in late March/April 2024. When you complete your written submission, please indicate if you would like to speak at the meeting and we will be in touch.

The vertical curved seawalls were chosen for the design of the shared path due to being more effective at deflecting wave energy offshore in comparison with other options, as well as their reduced footprint on the foreshore. Additionally, they are designed to prevent coastal erosion and will provide protection against storm surges, and therefore reduce the likelihood of damage to the road and shared path.

The design is also future-proofed, with the ability to be adapted to accommodate for sea level rise. Texture is applied to the seawall faces to provide habitat for intertidal biota and coastal species, as part of the environmental mitigation measures for the project. This will be a consistent detailing to reduce the visual impact of the seawall.

More information around these details can be seen within the Bay-Specific Urban Design Plans which can be found at the links below.

The method for construction of the new seawalls is outlined in the image below.

Tupua Horo Nuku Seawall Construction 1

Tupua Horo Nuku Seawall Construction 2

Tupua Horo Nuku requires a unique construction methodology and protection from the sea is a key component to provide safe working conditions and extend the number of working hours each day to allow the project to be completed within the planned timeframes and budget.

Early in the planning for this project, the Alliance considered many potential solutions for temporary protection from the sea.
The construction team chose to trial temporary wave barriers (pictured below) due to their lower environmental impact, quicker establishment and de-establishment times and lower cost than other options.

Tupua Horo Nuku is the first project in New Zealand to trial these barriers in an exposed marine environment. The risks that come alongside trialling this product in a new environment were considered since the method was proposed and accounted for within the project allowances.

Wave Barrier - Days Bay

The wave barriers got damaged by rough sea conditions on two occasions, most recently on 21 March 2023.

The construction safety plans developed by the project team to protect workers did not allow for work to be undertaken in certain rough weather conditions. This is the reason the barrier frames were left in place on 21 March, after a heavy swell warning was issued at short notice.

At that point, it was too late to safely begin the removal process and it was decided by the team to leave the skeleton in place despite the potential for damage. Post the event, the damaged material was removed when it was safe to do so.

This event did not cause any negative impact on the environment and is not expected to cause any further delays to the programme or increases to the budget for the project. No permanent works were damaged, and the barrier has been recovered back to the construction yard.

The team is now working with MetService to get better information sooner and with more frequent updates. This information will be carefully considered before the wave barriers are used again, and will give the team more time to disestablish the wave barrier if heavy swells or strong winds are predicted. The skeleton only will not be left in place again and the barrier will also be restricted to shorter lengths, to lessen the time needed to disestablish.

The Alliance is confident that the innovative wave defence barriers are a workable option for the Tupua Horo Nuku environment. Lessons learned from these first two trials are being used to adapt our future plans to better manage the conditions.

Hutt City Council, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, and the Government through the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund are helping to fund this project. $30 million in funding has been committed so far.

Hutt City Council is working in partnership with iwi mana whenua – Taranaki Whānui ki te Upoko o te Ika, and Ngāti Toa Rangatira. This partnership operates through the Mana Whenua Steering Group.

The project is will be delivered on behalf of Hutt City Council by Te Ara Tupua Alliance.

This is a project delivery team made up of:

  • Waka Kotahi
  • Downer NZ
  • HEB Construction
  • Tonkin+Taylor.

Te Ara Tupua Alliance is also delivering the Ngā Ūranga ki Pito-One (Ngauranga to Petone) shared path.

Right nowConstruction is progressing well in Sunshine Bay, with pre-works tasks underway in York Bay.
November 2023The first section of the shared path is opened  at Mā-koromiko
August 2022Te Huringa-Nuku ceremony marks construction start for Tupua Horo Nuku.
February 2022The name Tupua Horo Nuku is gifted to the pathway by Mana Whenua.
November 2021Alliance delivery model chosen, with Te Ara Tupua Alliance confirmed to deliver southern portion (Mā-koromiko and Sunshine Bay).

Landscape and Urban Design Plan consultation with residents associations and community groups.
October 2021Community open day on project next steps.
June 2021Resource consent appeal resolve (resource consent confirmed).
March 2021Resource consent initially approved (subsequently appealed).
April 2019Resource consent application lodged with Greater Wellington Regional Council.
2018Design development for resource consent begins.
2015Start of community engagement.
2014Eastbourne community survey showed that the shared path and climate change were the top concerns facing the Eastbourne community.

Video description: Watch the video on the Ma-koromiko open day, 19 June 2023.

Video description: Watch the video on the naming of Tupua Horo Nuku.

Video description: Watch the video of the Community Information Evening held in Eastbourne in August 2022.

Project News

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