Frequently asked questions

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
Last updated: 22 February 2022

The most common FAQs people have about the pathway.

Funding, timings and scope questions

What is the total length of the pathway?

The whole length of the pathway including existing sections and proposed sections (main alignment and connector paths) is 15km.

Why isn’t the whole of Sections 2 and 5 being built?

More detailed design work has confirmed that the funding we currently have through Crown Infrastructure Partners will cover the construction of two areas within Sections 2 and 5. These areas provide much-needed4 local connections.

Area 1 connects Roberts Field to SH16. This will be the entry point to Te Whau Pathway and a key connection point between the existing North Western cycleway and the proposed bus interchange at Te Atatū. View Area 1 maps.

Area 2 connects Rizal Reserve to Ken Maunder Park via a new bridge crossing over the Whau River. This is a high priority zone for the Whau Local Board, connecting the New Lynn and Avondale communities and building on the existing walking and cycling network. View Area 2 maps.

When will construction start on Areas 1 and 2?

We are currently working on detailed design of these two sections, and will be taking public feedback into account as we progress the design. Early construction work, to prepare the site for boardwalk construction such as vegetation removal, and building construction storage areas will start in 2022. We’ll update you as soon as we have a construction programme for 2022! 

What sort of things will be built in Areas 1 and 2?

With the available current funding, we will be focusing on building the boardwalk and on-road structures in Areas 1 and 2, including proposed lookout pods in Area 1. We may not be able to build all of the proposed areas for play, access and rest at this stage. However, we want to hear your feedback on the design and location of these areas along the whole pathway so that we have a ‘road map’ for what should be prioritised as more funding becomes available.

When will the rest of the pathway be built?

At this stage we don’t know when more funding will be available to build the rest of the path.

The Whau Coastal Walkway Environmental Trust, in partnership with Auckland Council, will continue to advocate for the project and will update the community when additional funding is secured to build the remaining sections of the path. We are consulting on the design of the whole pathway now so that as soon as more funding does become available, we can progress with applying a consistent design to the remaining sections.

Why is a crossing being built to connect Avondale and New Lynn when there are already other bridges across the Whau River, close by at Great North Road and Rata/Ash Street?

This proposed bridge crossing is a safe and convenient connection for people biking and walking between the two parks Rizal Reserve and Ken Maunder Park. It also adds connections to the Avondale Racecourse.

Yes, the Rata Street crossing does go across the river, but it doesn’t provide a direct connection between the two parks and won’t connect people to the wider Te Whau Pathway – including links to SH16, Green Bay, etc in the future. The Whau Local Board have also made the bridge crossing a high priority as it connects New Lynn and Avondale communities.

Connections to other parks and places

How will the pathway connect to other walking and cycling paths in the area?

Once the whole pathway is built, it will connect into other parts of the network such as the New Lynn to Avondale Cycleway and North Western Cycleway along the motorway. Area 1 will connect Roberts Field with the North Western Cycleway. Auckland Transport are one of our project partners and we have worked together to identify how to integrate Te Whau Pathway into the existing network. View the Alignment map with connections.

Can there be some additional connections across Te Whau River such as to Cobham Crescent to Avondale Road or between Archibald Park and Tony Segedin Esplanade?

These additional connections across the Whau River were not included in the resource consent proposal and are not currently being considered. A major bridge structure would be needed for both connections, that would be complex, costly to build and restrict boat passage in and out of these areas.

Environmental impact questions

What mangrove removal is proposed?

Some early construction work, including some mangrove removal, will start in 2022. There are resource consent conditions that we need to comply with while removing mangroves and these will help to minimise the environmental impacts of mangrove removal; these include removing mangroves as close to the sediment as possible and leaving the roots intact where possible.

At high tide, what is the estimated height of the pathway above water level proposed to be?

The minimum distance between the high tide mark and the underside of the boardwalk is currently proposed to be 1.06m. In some places where the pathway crosses other tributaries, such as Wairau Creek, the pathway will be more than 1.06m above the high tide mark.

How will the environmental impact of the build be mitigated?

There are over 165 resource consent conditions on the construction of the pathway, most of which relate to minimising the impact of the build on the environment. Here’s some examples of work we’re doing in this space:

  • Carrying out surveys of local fauna (such as lizards and bats) before starting any works
  • Timing activities such as vegetation removal outside of bird nesting season to minimise disturbance on bird species
  • During construction, we are working to manufacture as many of the building materials as possible off site so that the impact on the local environment is minimised.
How is sustainability being integrated into the design?

Work is underway to gain an Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA) Sustainability Rating. This rating challenges the design team to incorporate sustainability into the design and construction of the pathway and go beyond ‘standard practice’. To achieve the sustainability rating, certain criteria need to be met – these range from water quality to building materials to stakeholder engagement.

One example of this is the ISCA ‘carbon use credit’ that requires consideration to be given to the carbon footprint of different building material options. Our sustainability experts considered options for the boardwalk such as concrete, timber, Fibre Reinforced Plastic and compared the total carbon emissions involved in using this material. This information was then provided to the project team to feed in to their decision making about which material to use. See examples of New Zealand ISCA projects.

Design questions

What is Fibre Reinforced Plastic (FRP) and why has it been chosen for the boardwalk?

FRP is a mesh made from fiberglass and resin. Our design team considered a range of decking options, including timber, and the FRP option achieved the best balance between durability, sustainability, cost effectiveness and user safety. In particular FRP will be easier to maintain, offers more slip resistance than other options and reduces noise and surface heat.

Will there be cultural design elements?

Te Whau Pathway follows one of the two traditional Māori taonga waka (portage routes) between the Waitematā and Manukau Harbours. Te Kawerau a Maki and Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei are project partners and have been engaged throughout the design phase. A cultural framework is currently being designed in collaboration with these iwi, which will be consistent across the boardwalk.

This framework will help to inform the detailed design of boardwalk elements, like lookout pods and nature play, as well as how pūrākau (stories) may be integrated into the pathway design. Some of the opportunities that have been identified for integrating pūrākau include within the lookout pod balustrades, seating, and in nature play elements.

What about other elements such as public toilets, picnic tables and drinking fountains?

With the funding that we currently have, we will be focusing on building the boardwalk and on-road structures in Areas 1 and 2, including the lookout pods proposed in Area 1. We want to hear your feedback on what else you might like to see along the pathway (such as public toilets, picnic tables and drinking fountains) so that we have a ‘road map’ for what to prioritise once more funding does become available.

In addition to hearing public feedback on this, Auckland Council will be assessing where existing infrastructure such as public toilets are located, and identify where the ‘gaps’ may be.

What about playgrounds along the path?

We’re planning on integrating various ‘nature play’ elements along the length of the pathway. On our website and social pinpoint page, you can see some suggestions of what these might look like and give feedback on their design and proposed locations along the pathway.

How wide will the pathway be and how does this compare to other boardwalks around Auckland?

Boardwalk sections will be 4m wide and concrete path sections will be 3m wide. The boardwalk is on the wider side of similar structures around Auckland. Most similar paths (like the boardwalks in Orewa and Hobsonville) are between 2.5 and 3.5m wide. The boardwalk width will be similar to the new Westhaven Promenade in St Mary’s Bay (Auckland Central) which is around 4.1m wide.

How will the path transition from the wider boardwalk sections to the 3m concrete path sections?

Where there is a transition from boardwalk to existing concrete path, the boardwalk will be 4m, and the pathway will gradually reduce in width down to 3m in the concrete section. There may also be opportunities to have signage and interpretation at these ‘transition’ points.  Any transition areas will also be designed to be fully accessible for all users.

Is there lighting planned for the path?

Yes, the boardwalk sections will be lit at night for user safety. Lights will be embedded into the handrails at a height of 1.2m, and designed so that light is directed down onto the boardwalk to minimise any light spill and glare. Lights will be spaced approximately 5m apart along the pathway.

The lighting spectrum we are proposing is ‘warm’ rather than ‘cool’ which will help to minimise both light pollution and wildlife disturbance.

Will there be information about the history of Te Whau River along the route?

We are keen to celebrate the Whau River and its history through the design of the pathway. As part of detailed design, we’ll be looking into how artwork and interpretive panels could be used for storytelling.

Information may be displayed in different ways. For example, some of the pūrākau (stories) will be integrated into boardwalk elements, while others will be captured online, on the project website.

Will the water access points be floating in the water or attached to the boardwalk?

There will be several different types of water access. The lookout pods with water access has access to the water directly off the boardwalk. It will be fixed to the boardwalk and will have access down to the water. Water access from land based locations will include both fixed and floating pontoon options to provide intertidal access where possible. Water access elements will be constructed as budget allows.

Other questions

How many people will use the path?

Once the pathway is completed, estimates suggest that there will be around 820 daily trips on the pathway in 2026, and 900 daily trips by 2028.

Will there be privacy and security for property owners along the river?

Auckland Council has worked closely with those landowners whose property is in close proximity to the pathway, to explore how options like vegetation screening or fencing could reduce privacy and security concerns. These conversations will continue as more funding becomes available for other sections of the pathway.

How often will the pathway be used?

August 2019 assessment for 2026 trips

Section 1 140 455 600
Section 2 185 455 640
Section 3 560 455 1,010
Section 4 250 455 700
Section 5 530 455 990
Average 360 455 820


Updated assessment for 2028 trips

Section 1 350 450 800
Section 2 360 450 810
Section 3 640 450 1,090
Section 4 340 450 790
Section 5 580 450 1,030
Average 360 450 820
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