Te Whau Pathway is a 13 km cycle/walkway infrastructure proposed for the city of Auckland, New Zealand. Through an iconic architectural form, public art and enhanced ecologies, the long and varied history of the region is celebrated through Te Whau Pathway.
The pathway is an elegant piece of modernity, linking the city to the western suburbs. A world first, it will connect the east and west coast across Auckland’s narrow volcanic isthmus, joining sunrise with sunset, the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean, and the Waitematā and Manukau harbours across multiple ecologies and cultural footprints.
The pathway traces an important historical route along the Te Whau River, once used by Māori as an overland portage route to haul waka between the two water bodies and tribal territories – for migration, food gathering, trading and warfare.
More recently, post-colonial occupation of the river focussed on the production and shipment of bricks, food, Kauri tree gum and other primary products. Now, it is a backdrop to low density housing and industrial precincts.
The pathway is in the city’s western suburbs, where streets are circuitous, hilly and often congested, resulting in long journeys that are unsafe for cycling and are dominated by private vehicles. The pathway will connect communities with their places of work, recreation and schools, shortening journey times, promoting active travel and providing access to nature.
By creating a dialogue with this diverse freshwater and expansive tidal ecology, the project team has taken a utilitarian transport project and transformed it into an embedded, sculptural element that connects communities and people with their cultural and natural heritage.
The project will stimulate the planting of large tracts of native coastal forest and improve protection of the ecology that the mangroves inhabit.
The beauty of this natural river setting is complemented by the simplicity of the structure floating above the mangroves, mimicking the natural sweep of the river and its reflective qualities, and becoming a part of the landscape and the community that will inherit it.
Te Whau Pathway
Design | Jasmax + MonkMcKenzie + MWH Stantec in collaboration
Client | Auckland Council and Auckland Transport
Drone Photography | Louie Tong
Visualisations | MonkMcKenzie + Jasmax