Tupua Horo Nuku

Update on temporary shutdown of works:

Works have recommenced in Mā-koromiko and will get underway again in Sunshine Bay from Monday 11 September. Thank you for your patience during this time.

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 Ngāu 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.

Artist's impressions of the design of Tupua Horo Nuku

Construction overview

The new seawall in Mā-koromiko is almost completed, as is the paving on top of the completed seawall sections for the shared path.  Stairs down to the beach and culverts are also being installed. Check out the video taken at our Open Day in this bay on 18 June, which gave people the chance to see the seawall up close and ask the project team questions.

Open day video - YouTube thumbnail

Works in Sunshine Bay are going well with more than 50 seawall blocks now in place.

There will be one lane closed in each bay during the week, with stop/go traffic signals and a speed limit of 30km/h in place, so please take care in these areas.

18 August update

Marking a big milestone for Mā-Koromiko, the concrete foundation pours for the stairs and culverts have been completed. The team is now working on the main stairs going down to the beach at the southern end which will take approximately four weeks to complete, with plans to start on the smaller stairs in the middle of the bay this week. They are also taking advantage of the tides, where possible, to complete the work on the culverts.

Ma-koromiko progress from aboveMeanwhile, work to install the seawall blocks at Sunshine Bay continues with 53 seawall blocks (approximately 160 lineal metres) now in place.

In conjunction with the Tupua Horo Nuku project, Te Ara Tupua Alliance has been contracted by Hutt City Council and Wellington Water to replace the ageing wastewater pipe running from Mahina Bay to the Sunshine Bay sewer pumping station. This important infrastructure upgrade, that will improve the resilience of the network, will be carried out in parallel with Tupua Horo Nuku to reinforce the resilience of the Eastern Bays.

Significant digging work will be required on the seaward side of the road at the northern end of Sunshine Bay, with only one lane operating 24/7 and stop/go in place for the safety of all road users. The works are planned to start in the next month and take 3-4 weeks to complete. We’ll advise the exact start date in another update once this is confirmed.

Works are continuing in Mā-koromiko and Sunshine Bay.

Monday - Friday

For both bays, one-lane stop/go traffic control is in place during work hours (7am – 5pm) with a 30km/h speed limit through the work areas. This is constantly monitored and manually controlled to ensure traffic doesn't build up on either side during peak times. Outside of these times the road returns to normal. There are protected sections for pedestrians to pass around the sites in areas where they cannot be diverted onto the opposite footpath.

For safety reasons, the beach and rocks around the construction sites are closed for the duration of the works.

In order to complete the work as safely and efficiently as possible, the construction team is occupying 8 car parks close to the work site in Mā-koromiko during weekdays, as illustrated on the map. This is the minimum space required to safely operate the needed machinery.


Extra work on the seawalls is being undertaken on Saturdays between 7:30am – 4pm, dependent on weather and tidal conditions. 

The construction team may need to occupy 2 car parks near the Mā-koromiko construction site. This is only done if needed and kept to a minimum to limit disruption in the area.

Please factor this into your travel arrangements. We appreciate your ongoing understanding around the traffic control and beach access in the area while construction is taking place.

Illustration of traffic management 

Traffic Mgmt Days Bay - Apr 23

The shoulder of the road, the parking area and boat ramp at Mā-koromiko is continuing to be occupied by the construction team as the site office and for parking and storage of construction equipment.

The temporary roundabout at the southern end of the bay is still in place.


We have concluded the second phase of consultation on the draft design plans for Mahina Bay, York Bay and Whiorau Reserve. These were issued to the Eastbourne Community Board, East Harbour Environmental Association and relevant Residents' Associations for feedback.  

This feedback has been compiled alongside that submitted through the online survey, and responses have been provided by the project team working alongside Hutt City Council. There were some areas of the design that gathered considerable feedback and the team is still investigating the possibility of incorporating these changes.

Details of the comments and responses are available from the summary report in the Project Documents section of this page.

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.

Protecting our native birds

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

As their name suggests, the little penguin also known as Kororā 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.

An estimated 700 of these penguins live in and around Wellington Harbour, with 60-70 kororā 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 the works for the project and in the longer-term, we’re doing all we can to minimise potential impacts to the kororā including:

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

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.

As part of the environmental mitigation measures of Tupua Horo Nuku, a Bird Protection Area has been established along the foreshore in front of HW Shortt Park. This is one of four such areas that will be constructed as per the resource consent for the project.

This will create a nesting habitat for kororā/little blue penguins that are disturbed during construction works. It will include the following:

  • Signage identifying the area as nesting habitat
  • Installation of penguin nest boxes
  • Upgrade and repair of the timber fence between the foredune area and the park.
  • Installation of a suspended rope barrier along the seaward perimeter
  • Additional predator traps
  • Planting of native species throughout the nesting habitat and foredune areas to continue the restoration work already completed by local residents

Bird Protection Area

The upgrade of the existing fence is intended to reduce the likelihood of kororā wandering into the park at night, while the rope barrier is being installed to encourage appropriate behaviour from people and dogs without restricting kororā from accessing the water to feed at night.

These measures are not anticipated to impact those using the park for recreational activities. The intention is also not to prohibit access to the area, which the team understands is not feasible or reasonable. The measures implemented are designed to inform and raise awareness of the area's use as kororā nesting habitat.

The work being done in this area will serve to enhance the visual and recreational amenity through the increase in planting, further restoration of the foredune area and upgrade of the existing fence. It is not anticipated that this work will have any significant impact on the current use of the area.

For more information

Tupua Horo Nuku will run along Marine Drive in two sections between Ngāu Matau (Point Howard), Oruamotoro (Days Bay) and Eastbourne.

In the future, it will also link to other paths and regional routes such as the Remutaka Cycle Trail, and a future network of walking and cycle paths around Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Wellington Harbour.

The project aims to:

  • Provide a safe and integrated walking and cycling path on Marine Drive to connect communities in the Eastern Bays.
  • Create links to other parts of the walking and cycling network for commuting, recreation and tourism.
  • Create new seawalls for improved protection from storms and waves. Construction will enhance the environment where possible and provide a base for future resilience upgrades.

Map showing the Eastern Bays

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 now Construction is in progress at Mā-koromiko and Sunshine Bay. We are now continuing with detailed bay-specific designs for the next two bays planned to be built – York Bay and Mahina Bay, as well as Whiorau Reserve.
August 2022 Te Huringa -Nuku ceremony marks construction start for Tupua Horo Nuku
February 2022 The name Tupua Horo Nuku is gifted to the pathway by Mana Whenua
November 2021 Alliance delivery model chose, with Te Ara Tupua Alliance confirmed to deliver southern portion (Windy Point and Sunshine Bay).

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