Central Hawke’s Bay route transformation delivers reliability and opportunity

Published: 6 October, 2022

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A vital roading network that once could only be relied upon to flood during a Central Hawke’s Bay downpour has been transformed, opening economic opportunities for the district’s rural heartland and providing a model for future repairs and improvements across Central Hawke's Bay's badly rain-damaged network.

A close up shot of the back of a yellow hi vis vest which has the Kānoa-RDU logo, and the words 'Together we thrive! E ora Ngātahi ana' and 'CENTRAL HAWKE'S BAY'. Four other people are standing in the background wearing the vests and holding umbrellas, standing in front of a grass paddock.

Associate Minister for Transport and Local Government Kieran McAnulty, Central Hawke’s Bay Mayor Alex Walker with Anthony Tipene-Matua, Chair of Rongomaraeroa marae in Pōrangahau, at the celebration of the completion of the route upgrade. Image credit: Simon Cartwright.

Thanks to a $20.1 million investment by Kānoa, the Government's Regional Economic Development and Investment Unit, Central Hawke’s Bay District Council has been able to deliver long-needed improvements to the Pōrangahau and Wimbledon Roads, unlock potential for local businesses, address access inequality and anticipate growth in the forestry sector.

The upgrades include bridge strengthening, road elevation, waterway and safety improvements, and a new slow vehicle bay on Pōrangahau Road.

The Pōrangahau and Wimbledon Roads can now be relied upon as a freight route to the Port of Napier, a pathway to dramatic scenery for a growing tourism trade and a key to rural economic development including for over 13,000 hectares of Māori land.

“I’m really pleased to see the work that has been done to upgrade Pōrangahau and Wimbledon Roads," says Associate Minister for Transport and Local Government Kieran McAnulty. “These upgrades will make sure the region stays connected, and will have a massive impact on the regional economy and community."

"As the local MP, I know how important this route is for Central Hawke’s Bay. It was a great day when the Government backed the region by funding the upgrade. It’s an even better day now the upgrades are completed. A huge congratulations to the local crews – from the council to contractors – for completing this job,” he says.

“The economic heart of Central Hawke’s Bay is the land and the people that work on it,” says Central Hawke’s Bay Mayor Alex Walker. “But Pōrangahau Road, as a vital infrastructure link to a huge farming area including our largest concentration of Māori land, could not cope with the big trucks and weather impacts. This Kānoa partnership investment is an elegant solution to this constraint on our economy and community.”

"This work was not just about roads and our economy, but also people. These projects have boosted local employment and have had a positive impact in people’s lives. The upgraded Pōrangahau and Wimbledon Roads will make a difference in lives for generations to come,” says Mayor Walker.

344 people, 95% of them Hawke’s Bay locals, were employed on the Pōrangahau and Wimbledon Roads upgrade projects. 241 of these positions were full-time.

Pōrangahau and Wimbledon Road Upgrade - Central Hawke's Bay District Council