Taranaki maunga
Image: Carl Whittleston | DOC

Introduction

The Taranaki Crossing is a project within the Egmont National Park, connecting and upgrading a network of walking tracks on the maunga.

The Taranaki Crossing is a project within the Egmont National Park, connecting and upgrading a network of walking tracks on the maunga.

A total of 25 km of tracks have been improved – creating a mix of short walks, day walks and the foundation for a multi-day walking experience at Taranaki Maunga.

The Taranaki Crossing is a partnership between Ngā Iwi o Taranaki, DOC and Kānoa (MBIE). We work together to improve partnership with iwi and cultural expression along with enhancing the economic and tourist potential of the maunga.

Track improvements have helped protect alpine flora and fauna, including important ecological sites Ahukawakawa Wetland and Pouakai Tarns. We want to enhance the visitor experience at Taranaki Maunga, while also limiting the impact of visitors to this beautiful location.

Project funding and costs

The project was initiated via a feasibility study on the economic development strategy for Taranaki in 2017 (Tapuae Roa).

The Taranaki Crossing is funded by the Provincial Growth Fund ($13.4 million), announced in September 2018. Additional funding to support the project has been provided by DOC ($3.4 million).

Timeframes

Work on the project began on 25 February 2020, following a dawn blessing involving iwi, DOC, Kānoa (MBIE), and representatives of stakeholder organisations.

The project comprises three distinct workstreams and is scheduled for completion in 2025:

  • An upgrade to 25 kilometres of tracks, including board walks, bridges, signage and rest stops at geological features.
  • A new bridge across the Manganui Gorge.
  • A replacement of the Pouakai Hut.

The visitor experience

When the work is completed, the visitor experience on the mountain will reflect the relationship between DOC, mana whenua and the maunga itself.

The project will also strengthen connections to the maunga’s natural and cultural heritage, enhance biodiversity and provide opportunities for local people, including iwi, to express their kaitiakitanga of the mountain by sharing their stories.

Economic impact

The Taranaki Crossing feasibility study in 2017 identified that the project is expected to generate $3.70 million annually for the region’s economy by 2025.

Up to 30 short-term jobs will be created through work to upgrade tracks, carry out safety work, and rebuild the Pouākai Hut. It’s expected there will be approximately 12 jobs directly created in the long-term resultant from the Taranaki Crossing, with additional jobs created in support industries such as hospitality and retail.

Project updates

February 2024

taranaki-crossing-february-update390.jpg
Work taking place on the Manganui Gorge Bridge.
Image: Wayne Boness | DOC

Manganui Gorge Bridge

Construction of the Manganui Gorge Bridge has continued to progress well over the summer period with drilling and grouting works completed this month. The project has reached the significant milestone of constructing above ground, with the first sections of mast flown in and erected.

Since November last year, Abseil Access and sub-contractor Rock Control have drilled 22 holes ranging between 6 and 13 metres deep for the bridge cable foundation rods. Foundations have been poured, using 10.5 cubic metres of concrete.

We’re pleased and proud of the work achieved so far, and there is plenty of work ahead to deliver the bridge. Next steps are to erect the remaining bridge mast section and then string the cables to support the bridge structure. Completion is expected late April this year, weather dependant.

The existing track through the Manganui Gorge remains largely open, and if you’re planning to use it, make your presence known to contractors as you encounter them and follow any instructions given.

Track Upgrades

Over the next few weeks, we’ll carry out maintenance on tracks we upgraded last winter. All tracks will remain open, with work taking place from Tahurangi Lodge through to Pouakai Hut track sections.

DOC Visitor Centre staff and the DOC website will be kept up to date to ensure visitors are aware of work. In addition, temporary signage at-place will display information on summer work.

See map of exact locations for 2023 – 2024 summer construction works (PDF, 4,515K).

Pouakai Hut

The project team continues to work in co-design with hapū to finalise the detailed design to enable tender of the lead construction contract in March 2024. We’re now entering the process to accept tenders for the lead role in constructing the Pouakai Hut replacement.

November 2023

Manganui Gorge Bridge

manganui-bridge-390.jpg
Manganui bridge
Image: DOC and DOC Structures | DOC

Summer 2023-24 sees a new phase of work for the Taranaki Crossing with construction commencing on the Manganui Bridge.

The bridge will connect the Plateau carpark with the Manganui ski area on the maunga via a 30-minute walk.

Iwi representatives joined DOC and MBIE staff to bless the site on the first day of construction (Wednesday, 1 November), marking a key milestone for the project.

Abseil Access is the main contractor for the bridge build and specialises in this type of cable structure construction.

Subcontractors include Taranaki suppliers who have been fabricating steel components off-site.

Additional Taranaki businesses are being utilised throughout construction, with local companies supporting the build by providing construction materials and services such as helicopter operations and accommodation for workers.

Mast and balustrade panels sharing the significance of Taranaki Maunga to the iwi of Taranaki have been designed by an artist commissioned by Ngāti Ruanui.

The bridge is expected to be completed April 2024 weather permitting.

Track Upgrades

Maintenance work on completed track upgrades following the winter season is also scheduled for summer 2023-24. The tracks will remain open, with work taking place from Tahurangi Lodge through to Pouakai Hut track sections.

DOC Visitor Centre staff and the DOC website will be kept up to date to ensure visitors are aware of work. In addition, temporary signage at-place will display information on summer work.

See map of exact locations for 2023 – 2024 summer construction works. Take care when passing through these track sections. The existing track through Manganui Gorge will usually be open, except on days when key construction activities will require it to be closed for visitor safety. Some delays may occur at times with the contractor on site managing access through the site. Make your presence known to the contractors as you encounter them and follow any instructions given.

Media release 2 November 2023: Karakia marks start of Manganui Bridge construction.

Pouakai Hut

The project team continues to work in co-design with hapū to finalise detailed design of the Pouakai Hut. The replacement hut will be at the same site and when it’s completed, it will have 34 bookable bunks available to the public. Improved facilities for day visitors are included within the design due to the large number of visitors making day trips to the Pouakai Tarns.

Construction is anticipated to commence in April 2024. Detailed designs will be updated on the DOC website once completed.

November/December 2022

The final sections of track on the Taranaki Crossing are due to commence from the Ahukawakawa Wetland to the Pouakai Junction and Holly Hut through to Jacobs Ladder. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of summer 2023.

See map of exact locations of track upgrades (JPG, 10,000K). Take care when passing through these track sections and expect some delays.

In early December, we announced the commencement of the tender process for the Manganui Gorge Bridge, and also the unveiling of an artist’s impression of the bridge.

Media release 6 December 2022: Impressive bridge design unveiled for Taranaki Crossing

The Pouakai Hut workstream is also tracking well.

September 2022

In September, DOC, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and Te Kotahitanga o Te Atiawa (Te Kotahitanga) announced a new partnership to redevelop the North Egmont Visitor Centre.

The $2.9 million project will be led by Te Kotahitanga, which is now exploring options for the improvement of the visitor centre and to transform it as part of the wider Taranaki Crossing experience.

The partnership between the two Government agencies and Te Kotahitanga is a key feature of this development, and work to decommission the existing North Egmont Visitor Centre began with the closure of the on-site café.

This page will be updated as plans for the new centre are finalised.

Media release 7 September 2022: Taranaki Crossing takes a step forward with visitor centre works

May 2022

Boardwalk on forested track.
Boardwalk on the Ahukawakawa Track
Image: Annelise Hunt DOC

We have had a busy and successful summer of construction, with four construction companies all making some great progress on the $3.5 million worth of track upgrades. All sections are complete except for 1) the Holly Hut track between between the Kokowai Track junction and the top of Veronica Track and 2) some parts of the track between Ahukawakawa wetland and Pouakai Hut. These two sections will be completed in summer 2022/2023.

We have engaged an engineer for the Manganui Gorge Bridge design and concept design is underway.

Highlights of the completed work:

  • Completed steps with rock formation on the North Egmont Camphouse to Jacobs Ladder Track. Stones from a local quarry (Waiwhakaiho) were placed next to the steps to prevent scouring and they highlight the track edge to prevent trips and falls
  • Boardwalk constructed on the Ahukawakawa Track to prevent tripping on the tree roots and protect the trees in the area.
  • New track and bridge created at the Waingongoro Headwaters on the Wilkies Pool-Stratford Plateau track to move away from a high risk rockfall location.

Coming up

  • The design phase of the Pouākai Hut and improvements around the Pouākai Tarns.
  • Define aspects of the Visitor Experience Design including safety messaging, wayfinding, entry and exit points.

December 2021

Steps on track.
Upgraded steps, Wilkies Pool – Statford Plateau Track
Image: Wayne Boness DOC

The summer of 2021–2022 marks another new phase of work for the Taranaki Crossing, with DOC awarding contracts for six packages of track upgrades.

The upgrades will focus on the track network from Manganui Ski Field to Pouakai Hut, and work is already underway following karakia from respective hapū and iwi.

In awarding contracts for this work, DOC has placed a strong focus on social procurement and regional benefit, ensuring investment into the local Taranaki economy. One contractor will be employing 12 Taranaki residents for the summer period, which reflects our local emphasis and benefit.

The summer work programme will mean some track delays and diversions when works are in progress – visitors may encounter up to 30-minute delays at some worksites. Each section will have up to date signage. DOC Visitor Centre staff and the DOC website will also be kept up to date accordingly.

If you are planning to complete the Pouākai Crossing please allow for an additional hour of delays and include this in your planning.

The work will be paused over the 2021–2022 Christmas and New Year period.

We have recently completed the upgrade on the track between Wilkie’s Pools and the Stratford Plateau.

Coming up

  • Defining the Visitor Experience Design component of the project.
  • Continued design work on the Manganui Gorge Bridge.

August 2021

Taranaki mountain
Footbridge over  the Waingongoro River (Wilkies Pool-Stratford Plateau Track)
Image: Kerena Wano | DOC

Wilkies Pool-Stratford Plateau Track works are 50% complete and have now paused for the winter months. A new footbridge at the headwaters of the Waingongoro Awa has been completed. A karakia with Ngāruahine and Ngāti Ruanui signified the opening of the bridge.

Visitor experience design waka wānanga have been completed with Ngā iwi o Tokomaru, Kurahaupō and Aotea waka. A codesign process for the visitor experience design will be constructed and defined by iwi representatives to inform the Visitor Experience Design Master Plan.

Engagement has been completed with regional leaders, concessionaires, and other stakeholder groups.

Design work for the bridge over the Manganui Gorge has begun

Procurement of six track work packages on the Taranaki Crossing are currently open for tender. These work packages comprise of the remaining track works from Manganui ski field through to Pouakai Hut. Site visits and tenderer meetings have been completed. There is a focus on tenderers showing how their proposals will benefit the region by using locals and local businesses.

May 2021

Taranaki mountain
Aerial shot of the Ahukawakawa Wetland Boardwalk
Image: Kerena Wano | DOC

Upgrades have been completed on the 4.8 km section from Mangorei Rd end to the top of the Pouakai Ranges, resulting in a consistent quality track.

Work has also concluded on the Ahukawakawa and Pouakai Tarns boardwalks. The upgrades consist of 720 metre of 1.2 metre wide boardwalks from the Pouakai Hut Down to the Pouakai Tarns, and 733 metre of 1.2 metre wide boardwalks across the Ahukawakawa Wetland. A karakia ceremony led by local iwi marked the start of this phase of the project.

Visitor experience design waka wānanga have been completed with Ngā iwi o Tokomaru, Kurahaupō and Aotea waka. These wānanga outlined the aspirations, project values, principles, experience outcomes and themes iwi have for the project.

Engagement has been completed with regional leaders, concessionaries, and other stakeholder groups.

Wilkies Pool – Stratford Plateau track upgrades have commenced. A karakia ceremony led by iwi marked the start of this work.

February 2021

Tramper on boardwalk through scrub, looking towards mountains.
New boardwalk, Ahukawakawa Wetland
Image: Carl Whittlestone | DOC

We have completed upgrades on the 4.8 km track from Mangorei Rd end to the top of the Pouakai Ranges, resulting in a consistent quality track.

Work commenced on the Ahukawakawa and Pouakai Tarns boardwalks. The upgrade will consist of 720 m of 1.2 m wide boardwalks from the Pouakai Hut Down to the Pouakai Tarns, and 650 m of 1.2 m wide boardwalks across the Ahukawakawa Wetland. A karakia ceremony led by local iwi marked the start of this phase of the project. Environmental testing has been undertaken as part of this stage.

A visitor experience design waka wānanga has been completed with Ngā iwi o Tokomaru and Kurahaupō waka. These wānanga outlined the aspirations, project values, principles, experience outcomes and themes iwi have for the project.

Engagement has been completed with regional leaders, concessionaries, and other stakeholder groups.

Tenders for the Wilkies Pools to Plateau track upgrade have closed. We are working with the preferred supplier to finalise the contract and begin the construction work.

November 2020

We have awarded a contract for 1.4 km of boardwalks across Ahukawakawa and on the Pouakai ranges. Construction will start this summer.

Work commenced on the minor upgrades required to the remainder of the Mangorei Track to provide a good standard of track on the entire 4.8 km of the track from Mangorei Rd end to the top of the Pouakai Ranges.

The first visioning wananga on Taranaki Crossing Experience Design was in August. We were pleased with the good attendance and participation received for this hui. It included discussion on the project’s values, principles, experience outcomes and themes, as we work toward creating a “must-do experience” for Taranaki.

We're excited about the appointment of Kerena Wano, Project Stream Lead – Strategic Engagement, to the team who started in early October. Kerena comes to the project with strong connections to Te Atiawa and Taranaki Iwi and a background of teaching and project management for cultural events.

Draft reports for the Geological Risk and Environmental impact work have been completed.

A report from Massey University on the Volcanic Hazard Assessment has been received. An eruption is likely to create a risk to damage of any infrastructure built, this will need to be factored in to design.

route-taranaki-crossing.jpg
Route of the Taranaki Crossing: Green lines indicate tracks also part of the Pouakai Crossing, while blue lines show tracks that are not

June 2020

We're pleased to report the following developments:

We've upgraded 850 m of Mangorei Track with timber rafting. This is a significant improvement on what had been a particularly boggy section. Read the media release on the Beehive website about this milestone – issued in early June by Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage and Minister of Regional Economic Development Shane Jones.

We're in the process of engaging assistance for the Taranaki Crossing Experience Design. We can then engage with Treaty Partners and stakeholders to determine the key elements of what will make the Taranaki Crossing an unforgettable, must-do experience for visitors that reflects what's important in Taranaki.

We've engaged Massey University to complete a Volcanic Hazard Assessment and finalising agreement with a supplier for Geological Risk Assessment. These are important pieces of work which are vital to our management of physical risks which are a factor given the landscape and environment we are working in.

We're continuing to plan and scope the boardwalks across Ahukawakawa Swamp and to the Pouakai Tarns.

April 2020

The Pouakai Crossing project now becomes part of the Taranaki Crossing, with additional funds available from the Provincial Growth Fund to complete the work. Substantial planning has been completed for Pouakai Crossing already, including:

  • A volcanic hazard assessment, to tell us how tracks and assets might be impacted if Taranaki Maunga erupts.
  • A geological risk assessment, to investigate the risks posed by landslides and rockfalls and recommend ways to manage these risks.
  • An environmental impact assessment, to look at the potential impacts of track upgrades on sensitive flora and fauna, especially in Ahukawakawa Swamp.
  • A cultural impact assessment, which considers the values that the local hapu, Ngā Mahanga a Tairi, wish to see upheld on the maunga.

Since funding for the Taranaki Crossing project was announced in September 2019, we have:

  • Continued a monthly working group with Ngā Mahanga a Tairi. This hapu supports the project team with input on planned investigations and construction within their rohe on the Pouakai Crossing.
  • Established a governance group made up of representatives from DOC, MBIE, Tapuae Roa and Ngā Iwi o Taranaki. The group has met monthly since January and works to ensure the overall success of the Taranaki Crossing project.
  • Established a project team – currently this is made up of a Strategic Projects Manager, a Senior Works Officer and a Project Coordinator. At least one further role will be recruited in the near future and this team will be working with a host of consultants and contractors to complete the project.
  • Developed a plan for how the overall project will be delivered, including schedules, budgets, resourcing and workstreams.
  • Facilitated a site blessing by iwi and started construction at the Mangorei Road end of the track. A local contractor has been engaged to deliver the work, which involves upgrading the track surface to eliminate wet, muddy sections and reduce track-adjacent trampling of vegetation by visitors.
  • Started planning for the design of the Taranaki Crossing visitor experience.

Questions

If you have any questions contact Carl Whittleston, Strategic Projects Manager - Taranaki Crossing, at cwhittleston@doc.govt.nz.

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