Planting begins on State Highway 35


Nearly 4000 native plants are being planted along State Highway 35’s roadside banks over the next four weeks to help strengthen and stabilise the road.

The planting is part of Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency’s State Highway 35 Resilience project — included in the Tairāwhiti Roading package ­— which has $13.5 million of funding from the Provincial Growth Fund and National Land Transport Programme.

“This project is all about making State Highway 35 more reliable for everyone who uses it,” says Senior Project Manager Richard Bayley.

“These plants will help stabilise slopes in the soft rock we have here, and will reduce the amount of water that ends up on the road, which can weaken the surface and destabilise the foundations.

“A resilient road can withstand adversity such as a severe storm, and can bounce back quickly after unforeseen events.”

The planting locations for improved resilience include:

  • Makorori Hill (just north of, and opposite, Okitu Bush Scenic Reserve)
  • Opposite the northern and southern Makorori car parks
  • At Turihaua Point (on the farm side of the road)
  • North of Mata Road (2km south of Tokomaru Bay)

Most of the plants have been sourced locally to get the best ecological benefits possible.

“While we try to avoid spraying whenever possible, some spot spraying will take place ahead of the planting to give the plants the best possible chance of surviving and thriving. Signage will be in place to notify people while spraying is underway but will not result in area closures,” Mr Bayley says.

Fulton Hogan’s Tiaki Wai team, which specialises in this type of work, will be doing the planting and will maintain the sites for three years afterwards.

Ground investigations at multiple sites up the highway are also nearing completion, and findings will inform the plans for further strengthening using engineering methods, such as retaining walls and hill-side benching in addition to planting.

More information about the SH35 Resilience project is available on the Waka Kotahi website at:

Makorori Hill

The roadside on Makorori Hill is one of the sites selected for revegetation through the SH35 Resilience project.

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