The new Whakatū Arterial route has been officially named with the council approving it being called Te Ara Kahikatea at the first full council meeting of the year.
The most significant regional roading project since the building of the Napier/Hastings expressway, the new arterial route has been designed to improve traffic flow and safety between Hastings’ productive growing areas and the Port of Napier.
Vehicle access was provided ahead of schedule in December last year, and the identification of a name for the route was carried out in collaboration with the community and iwi.
A name for the route had been under consideration by the Whakatū Arterial Project working group since the road’s construction began, but some earlier suggestions were rejected by Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) because they did not meet LINZ policies.
Earlier this year Te Ara Kahikatea was suggested, with Te Ara translating as path and Kahikatea denoting the country’s tallest native tree.
The name Kahikatea was suggested to acknowledge the prevalence of the tree in the Heretaunga region, when up until the late 19th century it was commonly found in the swamps that covered the area, particularly in the vicinity of the new link road.
With a shallow root system, Kahikatea trees have developed an underground shallow buttressed root system to support their growth in unstable swampy ground.
This adaptation to support the trees’ stability was considered by the working group to be a fitting reflection of how different groups such as mana whenua, HDC and other entities had worked together throughout the road building project.
The council and LINZ have rules around naming roads with which this name complied, including the council policies that it be easy to spell, be unique, and, if indigenous, be endorsed by the local mana whenua.
Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said extensive community consultation had been undertaken to find an appropriate name that reflected the cultural significance of the area, as well as fulfilling legislative requirements.
“This name has arisen out of multiple conversations with stakeholders and recognises the important role mana whenua had throughout the entire process of building this route.
“The renaming of the road signals the successful completion of this important project both for the Hawke’s Bay economy and for our communities that live in the area surrounding the route.”
Posted: 2 February 2019