Helping to make Ūpokongaro safer for all


Each weekday in Ūpokongaro village, upriver from Whanganui, children walk and cycle along State Highway 4 to get to school. Others get in and out of cars parked outside the school on the state highway.

To keep everyone in Ūpokongaro safe, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is consulting now on new speed limits on SH4 through the village.

Waka Kotahi Director Regional Relationships, Linda Stewart, says the proposed new speed limits would ensure people living in and visiting Ūpokongaro are protected from harm.

“It’s our responsibility to do better for communities like Ūpokongaro. We’re asking people to have a look at our proposals online and let us know if there are any other factors we should consider when finalising our plan,” Ms Stewart says.

The existing speed limit on the state highway through the village and past the school is 70km/h. A new permanent speed limit of 40km/h is proposed through the village, with a 30km/h variable speed limit proposed outside the school.

Ūpokongaro School Board Member Aaron Maru says the proposals are great news for the school and the community as a whole.

“We’ve been pushing for this over the last few years; everybody’s just over the moon about it.

“There’s been an increase in walking and cycling and kids are just loving biking to school now but the speeds on the road are a bit scary,” Mr Maru says.

In 2020, excited students took part in the first official crossing of the new cycle and pedestrian bridge over the Whanganui River connecting Ūpokongaro to Papaiti on the other side. The bridge was recognised as good news for tourism and visitors to the area, however the state highway speed limit was raised as a safety issue for people cycling and walking.

Concerns are now heightened by the expectation that vehicle speeds through the village could increase further once an emergency works project on the state highway, south of the village, finishes up and the 30km/h temporary speed limit that has been there for some time is removed.

These speed limit proposals are part of an Interim State Highway Speed Management Plan, under a new Land Transport Rule: Setting of Speed Limits 2022 and a new approach to managing speeds.

The focus on tackling unsafe speeds is one of the priority actions in the Road to Zero Road Safety Strategy.

Find out more and make a submission on the proposed new speed limits for Ūpokongaro or other locations around Aotearoa New Zealand at  

Consultation closes at 5pm, Monday, 12 December 2022.