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Waikato Expressway supports historic commemoration


NZ Transport Agency staff joined thousands attending November’s 1863 Rangiriri Battle commemorations – and ensured construction on the nearby Rangiriri Section of the Waikato Expressway didn’t hamper the day’s activities.


NZ Defence force personnel join in the commemorations.

The commemorative event held on November 20, 2013, marked the significant history of one of New Zealand’s bloodiest land wars.  Rangiriri was the site of the historic 1863 battle of Rangiriri, part of the New Zealand land wars. It is also one of the areas where it was announced King Potatau would be the first Maori King.

NZ Transport Agency Regional Director Harry Wilson and the Project Team attended the Rangiriri Battle Commemorations to recognise this event as part of the area’s past. The Transport Agency’s involvement with and support for the event also highlighted the Transport Agency’s work with iwi Waikato-Tainui and the NZ Historic Places Trust to preserve this area throughout the construction of the new SH1 Rangiriri Section.

“The existing SH1 cuts through the Rangiriri Pa and battle site. The new highway alignment will instead go around the main battle site area allowing travellers to view the historical site as they drive by,” says Harry Wilson.

The Transport Agency is also assisting to enable the reinstatement of the pa site as well as installing an arch culvert under the new alignment to mark the location of the battle trench which ran from the pa to the Waikato River.

“It was an honour to be part of this significant event and to have a positive relationship with iwi during the consultation and construction of this section of the Waikato Expressway.  We were also impressed with how traffic management went, everything ran smoothly along SH1 and the event was memorable,” says Mr Wilson.

Rows of Pou (two of which were unveiled at the commemoration event itself) will line the battle site and will be visible from the new section of State Highway 1 when it is completed in 2016.

About the project

The Rangiriri section is 4.8km of new section of SH1 which will:

  • connect the Longswamp and Ohinewai sections of the Expressway
  • improve connectivity from Auckland to Huntly and further south
  • improve safety, particularly for those using the Rangiriri and Te Kauwhata intersections.

The section will provide improved connections for the community. Construction started early in 2013 and it is expected to be complete by late 2016, includes an interchange at the intersection of State Highway 1 and Te Kauwhata Road and an interchange at Rangiriri. The project will provide for two lanes of traffic in each direction, divided by a central barrier.

Find out more about the Waikato Expressway Roads of National Significance (RoNS) project online at link)

The NZ Transport Agency also has information on its Waikato Expressway webpages, including a monthly newsletter summarising progress on each of the Expressway’s sections - visit link).


NZ Transport Agency Highways Manager (Waikato/Bay of Plenty), Kaye Clark at the commemorations with David Fehl, Tony Pike and David Jewell from Fletcher Construction.


A haka performed by local iwi marks 150 years since the battle of Rangiriri.


Looking north across the Glen Murray Bridge, Rangiriri Section, Waikato Expressway – late 2013.