Blessing marks start of construction of SH2/35 improvements


Construction is set to begin on the first of over 50 sites included in a package of passing opportunities and resilience improvements for State Highways 2 and 35 in and out of Tairāwhiti.

Group of people standing around outside with their heads bowed in prayer. Beach and sea in the background.

Papa Jack Papuni, the Kaikarakia leads the blessing at Turihaua for Waka Kotahi.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency hosted a blessing of the sites yesterday afternoon, which was led by local iwi Ngati Porou and mana whenua Ngati Riwai and Ngati Hura, and signalled the beginning of what is anticipated to be a two-year programme of work.

“We’re very fortunate to have the support of local iwi as we embark on the construction phase of this programme of work to improve connectivity, safety and resilience of the region’s state highway network,” Waka Kotahi Senior Project Manager Rob Partridge says.

“State Highways 2 and 35 are long and winding roads which travel through some unforgiving terrain. Locals and people who travel these roads regularly gave us great feedback on the best sites for passing opportunities and where we most need to improve resilience so that the journey is safer for everyone.

“We have identified 25 preferred slow vehicle bay sites along SH2 and SH35, and more than 20 preferred sites along SH35 where we will look to strengthen the resilience of the road. We’re looking forward to construction getting underway at the first of these sites in the next three months.

“There have been a number of recent severe weather events on SH35 that have highlighted the importance of this work for communities that rely on the highway network to access medical care, supplies and their places of work.”

As part of the Tairāwhiti Roading package, funded by the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) and National Land Transport Programme, $49 million has been allocated for this project.

The PGF is a $3 billion fund over three years (2018-2021). The primary objective of the Provincial Growth Fund is to accelerate regional development through increasing productivity potential in the regions and contributing to more and better-paid jobs.

More information about the project can be found at:

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