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.

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 will be delivered on behalf of Hutt City Council by Te Ara Tupua Alliance, a delivery team made up of Waka Kotahi, Downer NZ, HEB Construction and Tonkin+Taylor.

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.

Construction & Design


A round of finishing work is underway, including:

- Lizard trapping at the southern end,

- Etching Tupua Horo Nuku cultural designs, created by Len Hetet, into the concrete,

- Installing the permanent handrail at the large set of stairs,

- Completing the widening of the southern end of the shared path.

Sunshine Bay

- Nearly 1000 m3 of concrete foundations have been poured,

- Over 100 metres of sewer main pipe has been installed,

- Three quarters of the seawall blocks have been placed.

York Bay

- We’ve laid about one third of the foundation types where the bedrock is shallower in the bay,

- We’ve installed 32 seawall blocks,

- We’ve poured 40 metres of ‘ecological tile’ – this is the patterned tile that sits atop the seawall block.

Whiorau Reserve

Construction of a 1.2m high wooden fence along the Reserve’s edge is underway. 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.

Whiorau Lowry Bay

In the week of Monday 6 May 2024, preliminary work for the Tupua Horo Nuku project at the north end of Whiorau/Lowry Bay begins. This is the first step before construction starts later in the month.

During this week only, the construction team will be on site from 7am as we set up for a temporary closure of the northbound lane at 8am. There will be traffic lights under manual control during working hours, before returning back to two lanes, daily.

A further update about the construction start date, along with an updated traffic plan, will be distributed in May.

A map detailing the lane closure  on Marine Drive in Whiorau Lowry Bay.

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

Our traffic team are responsible for minimising delay for people traveling in vehicles while maintaining a safe environment for people travelling through and working on site.

We monitor GPS data around traffic delays between 7am and 6pm Monday to Friday.

The average delay was less than 5 minutes in all monitored hours between 4 March and 29 March. The highest average delays identified were both approximately 4m 30s. These times were 9-10am on 5 March in the southbound direction, and 2-3pm on 26 March in the northbound direction.

We continue to ask the public to get in touch directly with any traffic concerns as we are always keen to continue improving. Issues raised with us are investigated and logged, including what improvements we implement.

Consultation on the draft designs for Ngau Matau/Pt Howard, Sorrento Bay and Whiorau/Lowry Bays wrapped up in December 2023. Feedback has been collated and a summary of comments and responses is available below under ‘Project documents’. Thanks to everyone who shared their feedback.

These Bay Specific Urban Design Plans are currently being finalised in preparation for 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 due to 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 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.

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 undertaken during February and May 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 July 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 Sorrento Bay Bird Protection Area includes an area of 200 m2 of rocky foreshore that has been identified as being a known breeding site for at least one pair of tōrea pango/variable oystercatchers.

Specific elements of the design include:

  • a fence to keep dogs out and screen breeding oystercatchers and their young 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.

Changes to dog access

We’ve made changes under the Dog Control Bylaw which include prohibiting dogs from Bird Protection Areas (BPAs) at Sorrento Bay, Whiorau Reserve, CL Bishop Park and HW Shortt Park.

They also include prohibiting dog access at Sorrento Bay and the beach adjacent to CL Bishop Park, and removing the daylight-saving dog restriction at Whiorau Reserve. Dog access at HW Shortt Park outside of the BPA remains unchanged.

Dog owners can still exercise their dogs off-leash on the beach south of Rona Bay wharf from Rata Street to Miro Street. Dogs can also be off-leash at Days Bay north of Days Bay wharf from 1 April to 30 November and between 7pm -10am from 1 December to 31 March.

See the indicative maps of dog prohibition areas below:

Map of the dog prohibition area at CL Bishop Park

Map of the bird protection area at HW Shortt Park

Map of dog prohibition area at Sorrento Bay

A map of the Whiorau Reserve bird protection area

Protecting our native birds

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.


Tōrea pango/variable oystercatchers also live along these shores. The Sorrento Bay bird protection area includes roughly 200 square metres that’s a known breeding site for these birds. We will construct a fence along part of this area to keep dogs out and screen breeding oystercatchers and their young from people using the shared path.

The implementation of a Pest Management Strategy will reduce the risk of tōrea pango/variable oystercatcher eggs and chicks being lost to predators. The erection of warning signage and interpretation panels, and the implementation of a public education campaign will also contribute to reducing levels of disturbance by both people and dogs.

Disturbance caused during the construction of shared path will be managed by carrying out pre-construction surveys to locate Tōrea Pango / Variable Oystercatcher eggs and chicks, and by creating an exclusion zone around any nests or chicks found.


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

The tōrea pango/variable oystercatcher is ranked as “At Risk, Recovering” on a national scale and “Regionally Vulnerable” within the Wellington region under the New Zealand Threat Classification System.

There are an estimated 728 tōrea pango/variable oystercatchers in the Wellington region, the vast majority of which are found on the coast, including the Eastern Bays. One breeding pair nests annually on a small offshore rock in Sorrento Bay.

They have a distinctive long, bright orange bill and coral-pink coloured legs. They are often seen in pairs probing busily for shellfish along beaches or in estuaries. They are long-lived, with some birds reaching 30+ years of age.

In the past, they were hunted for food and their population probably reached its lowest numbers in 1922, when protections were brought in. Since then, their numbers have increased rapidly. *

(New Zealand Birds online, n.d., https://nzbirdsonline.org.nz/species/variable-oystercatcher)

Design details

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.

Video description: On 19 November 2023, a crowd gathered at Mā-koromiko, Eastbourne to celebrate the opening of the the Tupua Horo Nuku shared path's first completed section.

Project Updates and Documents

Right nowConstruction is progressing well in Sunshine Bay and York Bay.
January 2024Construction begins 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.

  • Watch the video of the Ma-koromiko open day, 19 June 2023.
  • Watch the video on the naming of Tupua Horo Nuku.
  • Watch the video of the Community Information Evening held in Eastbourne in August 2022.

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