First completed section of Eastern Bays shared path celebrated
Dozens of enthusiastic locals turned up on foot and cycles early on a drizzly Sunday in November to celebrate the opening of the first completed section of the Tupua Horo Nuku shared path.
This is the section of path in Mā-koromiko, between Eastbourne and Oruamotoro Days Bay, which was officially opened on 19 November 2023.
Lower Hutt Mayor Campbell Barry, Mana Whenua, residents, the project team and construction crew joined children from Muritai School, bright and early at the Days Bay Pavilion and then later, at the start of the pathway itself, to celebrate the opening with a karakia, mihi, speeches and waiata.
The finished section is the start of what will be a 4.4km shared path stretching along Marine Drive between Ngāu Matau (Point Howard) and Eastbourne, flanked by a new curved seawall.
“We’re delighted to have this section completed and it’s great to see people out here today already enjoying the new path,” said Mayor Campbell Barry.
“It’s a safer route along the bays and encourages people to get out into the fresh air for some exercise. It will also better connect communities in the Eastern Bays and beyond.
"Meanwhile, the new seawall will help protect Marine Drive from storms and coastal erosion, improving its resilience.
“A huge thank you to the crew who have put in the hard yards in all sorts of conditions to get it over the line, along with the project team working behind the scenes.”
Chair of the Eastbourne Community Board, Belinda Moss, thanked past chairs Derek Wilshire and Ginny Horrocks for their hard work to help bring the project to fruition.
“Major projects like this start with a need in the community. They happen because residents work together and ask and lobby, sometimes for years and decades.”
Ms Moss said the opening was an exciting milestone for the Tupua Horo Nuku project and for Eastbourne.
“I spoke recently to a Days Bay resident who, like many, has been looking forward to this opening. Every week he loads his bike on his car and drives north or south to a safe place to ride. Now he'll be able to ride from home to Eastbourne, Pencarrow and beyond without sharing a major road with cars, buses and trucks.”
Ms Moss said children would now be able to ride or walk safely between Eastbourne and Days Bay to and from Muritai and Wellesley schools and East Harbour kindergarten.
Among those enjoying the opening was former Director General of Health, Sir Ashley Bloomfield who posted his delight in the event online.
Lauren, a Robinson’s Bay resident, said the shared pathway was an asset to the community.
“It’s brilliant, absolutely brilliant for us. The kids will be able to jump on and take themselves to the beach. We like the design. Everything about it is great.”
There’s some final paving and planting to complete at the southern end of the bay, which won’t affect traffic. These works will be carried out once any ngārara (lizards) in the area – which are protected under the Wildlife Act – are trapped and relocated. The ngārara include northern grass skinks, raukawa geckos, copper and kokowai skinks.
Construction in Sunshine Bay, further north, has been underway for several months and is expected to be completed mid-2024. York Bay will be next, followed by Lowry and Sorrento Bays, and finally Mahina Bay.
The finished project is scheduled to be completed by 2026.