Marainanga Gorge access works underway

Published 26 Apr 2023

Enabling work has commenced to establish temporary access through the Marainanga Gorge.

Tararua Alliance Project Manager Blake Hedley says the focus to date has been to stabilise and improve the critical lifelines to the Ᾱkitio and Owahanga communities via the only other access, River Road, and make it usable for all forms of traffic.

“With the initial response stage of the recovery now well progressed, we are starting to shift our focus to other high priority works.  Waka Kotahi have provided upfront funding to create temporary access through the gorge as the options for full reinstatement are developed,” Mr Hedley says.

A recent site meeting with Horizons Regional Council representatives, local iwi and supply partners outlined the following work plan:

  • Recover large rocks from the riverbed and place them along the right-hand bank of the river facing downstream, below the existing road to help reduce future scouring.
  • Lower the existing road and use the cut material as fill where the road has been completely washed away.
  • The temporary road will be approximately 4 - 5 metres above average river level

The plan should reinstate temporary access for the local community while options are developed for a permanent repair to improve the long-term access to this part of the district.

As the enabling works progress, heavier equipment will be brought to site to gain access to the riverbed, manoeuvre the massive rocks into place, then proceed to lower the road.

“Given the nature of the material expected to be exposed during the lowering of the road, we cannot provide a timeframe for opening, but will restore access as soon as practicable,” Mr Hedley says.

The Tararua Alliance will continue to share updates about the road status with iwi, adjacent landowners and the community, as well as the Tararua District and Horizons Regional Councils.

Impacted residents are reminded that updates are posted on the Tararua District Council Recovery web pages frequently –

Residents and road users can also phone the Council’s Customer Service team - 06 374 4080 (North) or 06 376 0110 (South), or email: