Project introduction

The Waitematā Harbour Connections project will provide for a fully multi-modal solution for people wanting to walk, cycle, take the bus, travel by light rail, drive, or transport freight across the Waitematā Harbour, connecting people to transport options across the region and beyond.

Emerging preferred option announced

On Sunday 6 August, the Rt Hon Chris Hipkins - Prime Minister of New Zealand, and Hon David Parker - Minister of Transport, made an announcement on the emerging preferred option for the project.

Providing modern, high-quality, and resilient infrastructure is crucial for a thriving Tāmaki Makaurau. The emerging preferred option provides the best opportunity to do this, responding directly to key problems – resilience, a lack of transport choice, and future growth.

Emerging preferred option - Waitematā Harbour Connections

  • Estimated project cost

    $100 million +
  • Project type

    Study and investigation
  • Project status


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About the project

As a major part of Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland’s transport network, Waitematā Harbour Connections is Aotearoa New Zealand’s most significant city-shaping project.

It will change the way we cross Te Waitematā (Waitematā Harbour) and use the wider transport system in the future — whether that’s walking, cycling, taking the bus, travelling by light rail, driving or transporting goods, services or freight — connecting people to transport options across the region and beyond.

Waitematā Harbour Connections is looking at what new infrastructure is needed to cater for these modes, where it will go, and how we make the best use of what we already have, including the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

A key connection for Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland’s future rapid transit network, Waitematā Harbour Connections will recommend ways to integrate transport improvements with quality urban development, to enable a thriving and sustainable city for generations to come.

Find out more about the project

Te Waitematā – he taonga

Te Waitematā is a landscape steeped in layers of cultural, geological, ecological and social significance.

Culturally, Te Waitematā is a taonga to Ngā Iwi Mana Whenua o Tāmaki Makaurau as kaitiaki and is acknowledged as a living being, with its own mauri. Like all living things, it must be considered and cared for. Ngā Iwi Mana Whenua o Tāmaki Makaurau are working in partnership with Waka Kotahi, Auckland Council and Auckland Transport to support the enhancement of the mauri and uphold the mana of Te Waitematā and the surrounding taiao through regenerative design.

Geologically, the rising and lowering moana has had significant impacts on the shape and characteristics of Te Waitematā. Approximately 25 million years ago, the area that is now Te Waitematā was covered by a shallow moana. Over time, sediment and volcanic activity created underlying rock formations and as the climate changed and the moana fluctuated, the coastline shifted and evolved. During the last glacial period, which ended approximately 10,000 years ago, the moana was much lower than it is today. As the climate warmed, glaciers melted, and the moana rose, Te Waitematā was flooded, and the coastline moved inland. This process caused the formation of estuaries and tidal mudflats.

Ecologically, Te Waitematā provides vital habitat for a diverse range of marine species and birdlife, including many endangered species. The tidal currents and nutrient-rich waters support a complex food chain. Te Waitematā is dominated by inter-tidal sand and mud flats with areas of fringing salt marsh and mangroves. These areas are home to a rich diversity of invertebrates that are a critical food source for a range of shorebirds and fish species. It is this ecological significance that contributes to the deep connection that Ngā Iwi Mana Whenua o Tāmaki Makaurau has with Te Waitematā. 

Socially, the navigable channels and sheltered bays of Te Waitematā have supported centuries of navigation, fishing, gathering shellfish and extensive trade and industry. Throughout the last century this has led to significant degradation and negative impacts on the mauri of Te Waitematā.

In recent years, the moana has continued to rise due to climate change, with projections indicating that it will continue to rise in the future. This is likely to have significant impacts on Te Waitematā, including increased flooding and erosion, changes in water quality and temperature, and the potential loss of habitat for marine and coastal species. In light of this, consideration will be given to the embodied and operational carbon associated with Te Waitematā Harbour Connections and the impacts on Te Waitematā.

Where are we now?

Year/Phase Details
2022 Indicative Business Case started and early engagement.
2023 (current phase)

The Indicative Business Case (current phase) is building on previous work and exploring all modes of transport to reach a recommended way forward by mid-late 2023.

  • March-May 2023: engagement with communities and opportunities to have your say.
  • August 2023: announcement of the recommended way forward.

The Indicative Business case is expected to be finalised early 2024.

2024 Further detailed development of the preferred programme of work and engagement with communities.
2026 Consenting, detailed design and engagement with communities.
2029 Construction expected to start.