Harbour shared path to be known as Te Aka Ōtākou


Dunedin’s shared pathway running ‘port to port’ around Otago Harbour now has a new name thanks to Te Rūnanga o Ōtākou.

Dunedin’s shared pathway running ‘port to port’ around Otago Harbour now has a new name thanks to Te Rūnanga o Ōtākou.

The full trail from Port Chalmers to beyond Portobello will be known as Te Aka Ōtākou (The Otago Vine), referring to the winding path of the trail and the harbour as the central waterway to cling to.

Te Rūnanga o Ōtākou spokesperson Megan Pōtiki says, “Tahu Pōtiki named this in 2019, not long before he passed away, therefore it is important that we acknowledge him as the harbour path nears completion.”

As well as Te Aka Ōtākou, Mr Pōtiki coined other names for each side of the harbour.

The northern or State Highway 88 trail will be known as Te Ara Moana (The Ocean Path), while the eastern or Otago Peninsula trail is Te Awa Ōtākou (The Ocean River).

Te Ara Moana refers to the direction of the tide as it flows out of the harbour towards the ocean.

Te Awa Ōtākou refers to the flow of the tide into the harbour and towards the city. This oceanic current is of singular and enduring significance to the Ōtākou hapū. It was the main highway for travel to and from the inland trails to the ocean. Known as an ‘awa moana’ – a mixed river of both fresh and salt water, Te Awa Ōtākou was an abundant mahika kai harbour.

The naming announcement comes as Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency nears completion of construction on the Port Chalmers to St Leonards section of shared path.

Waka Kotahi Director of Regional Relationships James Caygill says, “The Port Chalmers to St Leonards part of the path presented many challenges given the lack of space for the path in a demanding coastal marine environment.

“It involved reclaiming areas of the harbour, realigning sections of the main trunk rail line, building several major retaining walls, and a new 600-metre plus boardwalk to carry the cycle path around the edge of Blanket Bay.

“We have incorporated the story of Matamata, a guardian taniwha for the harbour, into the Roseneath cutting panels and our crews and contractors have worked closely with the harbour communities and KiwiRail throughout.

“It is an amazing project which will benefit people across many generations,” Mr Caygill says.

Mayor of Dunedin Jules Radich says he is also excited to see the Dunedin City Council’s contribution to the wider project.

The Peninsula Connection shared pathway, through to Portobello on the Te Awa Ōtākou side of the trail, is expected to be completed by mid-2024.  

“It's fantastic to see so many people already using the shared path on a regular basis. As it nears completion, I expect that number to increase even more.

“It is also instructive to see the cultural values of mana whenua expressed in the names chosen for this much-loved development.”