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Waipawa climate resilience project on track

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A climate resilience project in the heart of Central Hawke’s Bay is on track, thanks to the Government’s shovel-ready COVID-19 Response and Recovery funding.

The project will protect the Waipawa riverbanks from erosion and minimise risk to the northern side of the road coming up to the bridge at State Highway 50 where it crosses the river.

Minister for Economic and Regional Development, Hon Stuart Nash, says this work is supporting the local economy while building the region’s long-term resilience to the changing climate.

“This is future proofing Hawke’s Bay’s transport and economy as the region faces the challenges of a changing climate. Building resilient communities is a priority for us, and our funding across the country including this project is supporting communities to adapt to climate change” says Minister Nash.

“The COVID-19 recovery package demonstrates the Government’s determination to accelerate the economic recovery and support jobs and businesses as we respond to the impacts of this global pandemic. 

“This regional project is one of many that we’ve invested in, through the $300 million in the recovery fund, working alongside councils, iwi, businesses, primary producers and community groups.”

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Chief Executive James Palmer says the Waipawa River erosion control is the first of a raft of projects to kick off in the region, supporting local employment while giving the community a resilient transport connection into the heart of Hawke’s Bay.

“This project will be of benefit to the region by providing a climate resilient connection for Central Hawke’s Bay where the road is currently at risk. The project has seen the creation of two new roles in project planning and stakeholder engagement and construction,” says Mr Palmer.

“The riverbank provides protection to the bridge and the road leading up to it, but is currently eroding. The aim of this project is to minimise the risk of erosion using engineered design and re-direction of the river to move the water away from the banks. We’re doing this through a combination of earthworks, concrete akmons* and rope and rail groynes to redirect the main flow.”

Mr Palmer says it was great to have river managers from around the country in attendance, at their annual meet up.

Larry Weller Senior Network Manager for Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency says the organisations partnering together has resulted in a great outcome.

“It was the close working relationship between Waka Kotahi and the Regional Council that identified this significant risk and the accelerating nature of the erosion, and that enabled us to secure resilience funding for this project. It’s great to collaborate with the Regional Council on this project and provide greater resilience to SH50 and the communities that it accesses,” says Mr Weller.

An assessment of environmental effects has been undertaken and will be completed during and post works to minimise impact on birdlife, fish and vegetation specifically within the site, including working around the river bird nesting season.

This project is one of four that is being partially fund through the Provincial Development Unit. This project is also being part-funded by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.


*Akmons are large concrete blocks, connected with heavy steel cables, which sit on the gravels at edge of the river. They effectively “push” the river back into the active channel allowing vegetation to establish along the riverbanks.

11 March 2021

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