After a few challenging years for us all, 2022 ended on a positive note with the opening of Te Ara Tuku a Te Rauparaha, the Peka Peka to Ōtaki expressway, just before Christmas.
This has happened after years of work and in some ways it feels like yesterday that I was at the turning of the sod in 2017.
This has been a collective effort with support from KCDC, Waka Kotahi, government ministers, PP2O Construction Alliance, and crucially Ngā Hapū o Ōtaki, whose land the road sits on.
But to make it happen, countless workers have put in months and years of effort to create this expressway and we are grateful for your dedication and perseverance.
The new road saves people time, and alongside the Mackays to Peka Peka section and Transmission Gully, it’s creating the roads that will support people for decades to come. Improved connections like this don’t only mean that people can get around quicker, it means that Kāpiti becomes an even more attractive place to visit and enjoy, encouraging more visitors and growing the local economy.
The reality though is that this expressway passes Ōtaki, which might have an impact. But Ōtaki is an amazing community, one that delivers so much culturally, which is why so many of us love it.
While the opening might provide some challenges, I have every confidence we will overcome them.
Community liaison groups have also been instrumental to the success of the project. They have worked with the project team and helped deliver positive outcomes for communities.
This type of relationship, where both parties worked towards supporting the community, means this isn’t just an expressway, but has been an opportunity for work on the Ōtaki River and other environmental projects
This won’t be the end of works and just days before the opening, council received a Notice of Requirement for the Ōtaki to North Levin expressway, so there is more to look forward to. Critically, it’s a valuable piece in this transport puzzle. Beyond this, local MP Terisa Ngobi has been a loud voice for extending rail services up to Ōtaki, and last month at the Regional Transport meeting we discussed improving services, given recent issues. Furthermore, cycling and walking tracks have received a boost.
I’m proud of the work being undertaken to make this an accessible district however you get around.
I hope everyone is having a safe and fun summer, and if you want to check out some fantastic creativity the Festival of Pots and Garden Art is at Anam Cara Gardens in Ōtaki between the 20th and 25th of this month.
Janet Holborow Is Mayor of the Kapiti Coast District Council and among other committees, sits on the KCDC 'Strategy, Operations and Finance Appeals Hearing' (Chair) and the 'Chief Executive Performance and Employment' (Chair).