Project introduction

Connecting Tairāwhiti is a programme of capital projects across the northern Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti regions to make roads more resilient and safer for drivers. Projects are funded by the Provincial Growth Fund and the National Land Transport Fund.

Subscribe to updates

What does subscribing mean? Please read our Privacy statement


About the project

‘Connecting Tairāwhiti’ is the name of a programme business case that was completed during 2017 and 2018 to identify projects to help improve the economic opportunities for the region, along State Highway 2 (SH2) and State Highway 35 (SH35).

In February 2023, Cyclone Gabrielle severely impacted progress with many works bought to a stop and put on hold while recovery works through Tairāwhiti took priority.

The programme is back underway as of November 2023.

Latest updates on Connecting Tairāwhiti Passing Opportunities projects

The Connecting Tairāwhiti Passing Opportunities project aims to provide more safe places to pass slow vehicles and more places to pull off the road safely to check messages or take a break on State Highways 2 and 35 across the Tairāwhiti and Northern Hawke’s Bay regions.

  • SH2 Kakariki slow vehicle bay – UNDERWAY

    April 2024 update

    Progress continues at Kakariki, with the slow vehicle bay nearing completion.


    Works are underway to construct a new slow vehicle bay on SH2, near Kotemaori School.

    A stretch of SH2, near the intersection with Kakariki Farm Road, is under traffic management while the slow vehicle bay is constructed. Stop/Go traffic control, along with a temporary 30km/h speed limit are in place.

    The 260-metre slow vehicle bay will allow another place for road users to safely pass slow vehicles, providing a safer opportunity for passing as road users head north to Wairoa. It will help reduce driver frustration, enable people to safely pass slower vehicles and continue their journey in a timely way.

    In addition to the construction of a slow vehicle bay, we are also making safety improvements to Kotemaori School’s access on SH2, including a safe right-turn bay to access the school. 

    The project is expected to be completed in April 2024.

    This stretch of SH2 has seen a lot of construction and maintenance activity over the past few months as the region recovers and rebuilds from Cyclone Gabrielle. We understand the additional temporary stop/go traffic management will cause delays but we’re confident the slow vehicle bay will ultimately lead to more efficient and safer travel on this part of the journey.

    This work is part of the Connecting Tairawhiti programme of works.

  • SH2 Maraetaha shoulder widening – UNDERWAY

    April 2024 update

    Great progress has been made. The site has been sealed, and both lanes are open with a 50km/hr temporary speed restriction in place.

    This site is planned for completion May 2024.


    SH2 Maraetaha roadworks are planned to commence February 2024, located approximately 4km from Muriwai.

    These works will extend the northbound road shoulder approximately 800m to enable safer overtaking manoeuvres. Works are expected to take 3 months to complete, weather dependant.

    Construction of a mobile phone layby at the South Wharerata lookout will occur as part of this programme.

    Works will be completed in stages. A shoulder closure with 50km/hr temporary speed restriction will be put in place at the start of the works, followed by temporary traffic lights and a 30km/h temporary speed restriction as works progress. This will be in place on Monday to Saturday 6.30am to 6.30pm. Delays of up to 10 minutes are expected.

  • SH35 Puketiti slow vehicle bay extension – UNDERWAY

    April 2024 update

    Works are progressing well with earthworks on both sides of the road nearing completion.


    Work is underway at Puketiti 4km south of Te Puia Springs, with earthworks currently taking place and progressing well.

    This is to extend the northbound slow vehicle bay 250m to enable safer overtaking manoeuvres.

    Traffic management is in place including traffic signals and temporary speed restrictions of 30km/hr. Please plan ahead for delays of up to 15 minutes.

  • SH2 Kotemaori slow vehicle bay – COMPLETE

    Works on this site are now complete.

    Waka Kotahi has constructed a new northbound slow vehicle bay at Kotemaori on SH2 to allow slower vehicles to pull over to allow faster vehicles to pass.

    In November 2020, a blessing ceremony was carried out by Ngāti Pahuwera representatives and in July 2021 a tree planting and karakia marked the end of the project. This was attended by 16 pupils of Kotemaori School, Ngāti Pahauwera, New Zealand Police, Higgins, WSP and Waka Kotahi representatives.

    View the Kotemaori slow vehicle bay tree planting video

  • SH2 Matahorua Bride slow vehicle bay – COMPLETE

    Works on this site are now complete.

    Waka Kotahi has repurposed a pull off area to create a slow vehicle bay at Matahorua, on SH2 between Tutira and Putorino.

    Works were carried out by Russell Roads over December 2020 and January 2021.

  • SH2 Otoko Hill shoulder widening – COMPLETE

    Travellers are asked to plan ahead for three overnight road closures SH2 at Otoko, between Hihiroroa Road North and Fitzgerald Road, between 8pm-5am each night beginning Monday 19 February. This work is improving the surface of the state highway.

    Night time closures planned for SH2 at Otoko for resurfacing

    Escorted convoys will be available each night at the following times and locations:

    • 10:15pm and 1:15am leaving northbound from the intersection with Whatatutu Rd. 
    • 10:30pm and 1:30am leaving southbound from Matawai Village. 

    Road users must be at the convoy points on time to be allowed through. Note these convoys are not suitable for oversized vehicles. 

    These works are dependent on various factors and may be rescheduled. 

    Thank you for your patience and understanding while the resurfacing works take place.


Latest updates on Connecting Tairāwhiti Resilience project

The Connecting Tairāwhiti Resilience project aims to strengthen and stabilise State Highway 35 so it can remain open and functional during disruptions such as weather events – allowing locals, visitors and goods to get where they need to go.

  • SH35 Busby’s Hill realignment batters - UNDERWAY

    April 2024 update

    Works are progressing well to reconstruct the slope along the northbound side of the road, and build a retaining wall for future resilience and protection of the state highway.


    Works have kicked off at SH35 Busby’s Hill. This is remedial work due to the ground movement.

    Crews are reconstructing the slope and building a retaining wall for future resilience and protection of the state highway. 

    The expected completion date of the wider Busby’s Hill programme, which includes the construction of a southbound passing lane and layby, is September 2024.

  • SH35 Turihaua Point scour – UNDERWAY

    Significant coastal erosion has occurred at Turihaua Point during recent storm events, leading to undercutting of some sections of the road carriageway. Emergency works have taken place to secure the shoreline, with the next phase being to build a rock revetment wall that will protect the vulnerable coastline for generations to come. This work is expected to take three months to complete, dependant on weather, and started January 2024.


Outcomes of the programme business case

Improved safety, efficiency and resilience of regional roading network for our customers.

View the Connecting Tairāwhiti programme business case [PDF, 14 MB]