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Make a date with newly-enhanced Karangahape Road

Vibrant urban street and efficient transit hub come together in AT transformation

Published: 9 June 2021

Expect to find more space to walk and cycle next time you visit Karangahape Road. 

Auckland Transport and Auckland Council have opened the Karangahape Road enhancements for Aucklanders. And on Saturday 26 June, the Karangahape Business Association will ensure the legendary street bursts into new life with a fitting and colourful public celebration.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says: “It is great to have the enhancements of Karangahape Road open. It has become a much more pedestrian-friendly and cycle-friendly area, more attractive and more environmentally sustainable."

You’ll witness an all-in, point-to-point delivery of an enhanced street. 

You’ll see widened footpaths enabling greater outdoor dining capacity for local cafes and space for people to mingle, two rainbow crossings, native planting, separated cycleways on both sides of the street, bike parking, improved bus shelters and bus lanes, safety features and rain gardens to filter stormwater. 

You’ll hear about future-proofed ducting that has been installed underground for future technology capacity, improved stormwater systems beneath the surface, lighting that will synchronise with the harbour bridge and other city landmarks on big occasions.

You’ll read about Karangahape becoming a pedestrian-priority area anchored by two entrances to a significant underground City Rail Link station bringing an estimated 60,000 passengers to the area every day once it opens.

Read more about the City Rail Link here.

And you’ll experience stunning art. Tukutuku patterns woven in steel, the pāua shell eyes of Māori carvings reimagined into a material adorning bus shelters and silver disks inlayed into existing paving to symbolise the shell paths walked by Māori along this historic ridgeline.

These are elements brought to the new design by artists representing Mana whenua, drawing on Māori stories of place in this vibrant and much-loved neighbourhood.

“The elements brought to the design by Mana whenua enrich the streetscape and pay tribute to the character and history of this much-loved area,” says Mayor Goff.

Cast your eyes from the overbridge to the Waitematā Harbour in the north and Maungawhau across to the southwest. The overbridge now allows you to see the view and acknowledge the local awa and maunga at a place known as ko te wāhi rā i karanga a Hape / the area Hape performed his karanga. It is part of the walking route used by Māori centuries ago to reach the Manukau Harbour.

At the lower level of the glass walls of the overbridge, you’ll see the original perforated metal panels repurposed into artworks. Working alongside lead artist Tessa Harris (Ngāi Tai Ki Tāmaki), Tessa’s sons, Monica Brooks and students from the Kahurangi Unit at Auckland Girls’ Grammar School have taken a utilitarian piece of infrastructure and woven it into a beautiful modern form of Tukutuku panel.

And you’ll see stainless-steel circular inlays in the paving giving a sense of movement. Just as moonlight reflected in the shells enabled Māori to see the ancient pathway at night, the silver disks will reflect the changing colours and patterns created by new street lighting along the street

The design strikes a balance between the wide-ranging needs of all users and the vision of Karangahape Road as a great urban street

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