City centre coastal connection

Monday 25 July 2022

Tauranga city residents and visitors will be able to enjoy a greater connection with Te Awanui Tauranga Harbour from the city centre to Elizabeth Street as early as the end of 2023, as part of a series of projects which will transform our waterfront. 

Stage One of Te Hononga ki Te Awanui - the connection with Tauranga Harbour, will reconnect the city centre to its waterfront heritage, recognise the site’s significance to mana whenua and create a high-quality and accessible water’s edge experience, where people can spend time and connect with the harbour. 

Commission Chair Anne Tolley says as more people start to call the city centre and broader Te Papa peninsula home, it’s important to create better connections to the waterfront. 

“Great seaside cities around the world have memorable waterfronts,” she says.

“We can create something stunning here, on this very special harbour. Let’s create a space that’s truly for people.” 

Construction of a railway underpass next to the Harbourside Restaurant will provide a shared pathway for pedestrians and those travelling by bike, linking the waterfront boardwalk from The Strand through to Tunks Reserve at the eastern end of Elizabeth Street. A new section of boardwalk will be constructed to join the underpass with the southern end of The Strand, to complete the connection with the harbour. Construction of the underpass is earmarked for completion in early-2023, with the new section of boardwalk following in mid-2023. Public opening is anticipated in late-2023. 

The project has been in the pipeline for over 20 years and has been included in previously adopted Council strategies and plans, such as the City Centre Spatial Framework 2017 and Te Papa Spatial Plan 2020. Consultation on the project undertaken in 2019 revealed a very high level of community support. 

“It’s time Tauranga had a waterfront to brag about, and it’s exciting to see this project come to fruition, given the significant effort and support from the community which has brought us to this point,” says Anne. 

Stage Two of the project is in its infancy and is intended to provide an extended harbour-edge connection between Memorial Park and the city centre. This requires further investigation and engagement with adjoining landowners to develop a responsive and innovative design. 

The designs for both stages of the project are also being prepared with input from hapū and iwi representatives, to ensure the cultural integrity of the surrounding area is respected and given the mana it deserves. 

Principle Cultural Advisor Josh Te Kani, explains that Te Hononga ki Te Awanui reconnects us with our identity, as Tauranga Moana – Tauranga Tangata, people of the moana. 

“This harbourside pathway reflects our intrinsic relationship with the natural environment and the many stories of the sites of significance along its shores,” says Josh.

“From the vast gardens in areas like Hawaiiki (Memorial Park) and Taiparirua to the ancient pā along the Te Papa peninsula, such as Māreanui, which sits above the water near Tunks Reserve, looking across Te Awanui to close relatives at Te Mānia, a pā which sat at the tip of the Matapihi peninsula to the east. This connection further reiterates the Māori worldview of water acting as a conduit, connecting both the physical and metaphysical.” 

Funding for both stages of this project is included in the 2021-31 Long-term Plan (LTP). The LTP currently provides for a budget of $18.96 million spread over the next five financial years, however more accurate costings will be developed as part of further design work.