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Mt Messenger and the wider Parininihi area is a significant landscape and ecological area, which has cultural and spiritual importance to local iwi. Treading lightly on the land as much as possible guides the project and is expressed through the landscape design approach, design of the bypass, pest management and restoration work.

You can read more about the environmental and cultural aspects of the project in the following factsheets.

Local man leaning against car at a petrol station

A better and safer highway

The bypass offers a range of safety, resilience and route reliability benefits along with environmental and regional economic gains.

Download factsheet [PDF, 150 KB]

New Zealand native bush

Pest management area

Intensive and enduring pest management will help to significantly improve the natural environment.

Download factsheet [PDF, 196 KB]

Woman looking through binoculars

Kiwi, bats, lizards, plants and freshwater ecology

An ecology programme has been established to reduce harm to native wildlife and plants during and after the bypass construction.

Download factsheet [PDF, 126 KB]

Native New Zealand ferns

Restoration planting

Restoration planting will help offset native vegetation removed to build the road.

Download factsheet [PDF, 195 KB]

Aerial view of Taranaki region

Landscape design

A Landscape and Environmental Framework guides design and construction work with respect to the surrounding landscape.

Download factsheet [PDF, 86 KB]

View looking over towards Mt Taranaki

Cultural expression

Integrating cultural expression and project design recognises the importance of the spiritual and physical environment for Māori.

Download factsheet [PDF, 167 KB]

Water splash


Ngāti Tama has an important kaitiakitanga (guardianship) role over their rohe and a Kaitiaki Forum Group will be established.

Download factsheet [PDF, 88 KB]

Smiling construction worker

Growing our economy

Improving State Highway 3 can support tourism growth and potentially boost the local economy providing opportunities for employment, training and services.

Download factsheet [PDF, 226 KB]

Approach to landscape design

The bypass has been designed to go with the form of the land and not against it. The design works sensitively with the Parininihi terrain including Mt Messenger and avoids the culturally and ecologically significant Waipingao catchment.

It keeps low in the landscape by aligning with the Mimi Valley as much as possible and the Mangapepeke Valley.

The landscape design responds to and reflects natural elements, patterns and processes. This includes:

  • echoing natural slope angles in the earthworks
  • ensuring the revegetation method echoes the natural way plant communities grow at sites over time.

Key environmental design features

Bridge design avoids impacting significant wetland.

The bypass design minimises its impact on the local environment and landscape, including:

  • A bridge that carries the road over a stream that feeds into the Mimi River avoids impacting on the significant ecological swamp maire wetland. The bridge has been designed so that no piers (bridge supporting structures) need to be built in the valley bottom to reduce impact on the environment.
  • The road is positioned to minimise the impact on the natural water systems of the Mangapepeke valley.
  • The tunnel through the main ridge allows uninterrupted movement of wildlife from one side of the new road to the other.
  • Stormwater culverts (pipes) that pass under the road have been designed to allow kiwi and other animals to move safely from one side of the road to the other.
  • Fencing at all locations along both sides of the road to prevent kiwi (and other ground-based birds) from walking on the road and getting hit by vehicles.
  • The route layout avoids as many old and ecologically important trees as possible so that only 16 significant trees will have to be removed for construction.

Environment programme

 This substantial programme involves significant pest management, restoration and landscape planting and ecological protection. The project aims to greatly improve the natural environment in the Mt Messenger area. The project aims to offset the ecological effects of the construction and operation of the bypass.

1. Extensive and ongoing pest management

Over decades, pests have seriously damaged some of the mature native forest and habitat surrounding the bypass route.

Intensive, multi-species pest management over an area of 3,650 ha will be the largest and most comprehensive ecological package developed for a new road in New Zealand.

Pest management work factsheet [PDF, 196 KB]

2. Reducing risk of harm to native wildlife

Attaching and checking a transmitter to a kiwi as part of the project’s kiwi monitoring work.

Work is already underway to reduce the risk of harming native wildfire during construction and when the road is operational. This involves monitoring and specific environmental investigations of some key species including kiwis, bats and lizards before, during and after construction.

Design elements and other measures are in place to protect freshwater species living in streams along the new road.

‘Kiwi, bats, lizards, plants and freshwater ecology’ factsheet [PDF, 126 KB]

3. Restoration planting

Native planting when established over 10 years, looking down Mangapēpeke Valley.

Restoration planting of over 120,000 plants covering 32ha will help offset the native vegetation removed to build the road and lessen the effects of construction on the local ecology (all living things and their relationship with the environment). 

Restoration planting factsheet [PDF, 195 KB]


Restoring natural diversity – an enduring legacy for Mt Messenger(external link)