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Two-city cycling and walking link “a dream come true”

Media release from Great Harbour Way Trust
A key group that has fought for nearly two decades for the creation of a safe cycling and walking link between Wellington and Petone says the government’s announcement that the project will be fast-tracked is “a dream come true”.

Graeme Hall, chair of the Great Harbour Way/Te Aranui o Poneke Trust, said the trail, Te Ara Tupuna, would change the face of Wellington and introduce people of all ages to new activities and new views of the harbour.

“While the primary purpose is to allow people to walk and cycle safely between the two cities, the trail will also feature viewing and fishing spots, beautiful artwork, and attractive landscaping. It will rapidly become a hugely popular attraction with both locals and tourists.”

Hall said the group had been given a preview of the design and had “been completely blown away”. “NZTA has done a truly world-class job,” he said. “Everything has been thought of, including safety, night lighting, shelter, and natural habitat protection. The design is highly impressive.”

The Great Harbour Way project had its genesis in 2003, when a group of women led by former city councillor Mary Varnham walked the harbour perimeter over three days and realised it offered something almost unique in the world as all the land by the water was in public ownership. The only gap was Petone to Ngauranga.

“Once this is complete, it will enable the whole route to be developed.” Hall said. “It’s an exciting prospect.”

One of the most active members of the trust, Alastair Smith, a passionate cyclist who was tireless in his advocacy for the project, died last November after a long battle with cancer. “We will be raising a celebratory glass to Alastair,” Hall said.