Uawa banner image

Community-led projects revamp two Tairāwhiti streets

Tuesday 6 September, 2022

The main street in Uawa (Tolaga Bay) and a portion of Grey Street in Gisborne will each have $350,000 spent on them following an announcement by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency this morning.

The two projects were chosen under the Streets for People programme 2021-24, which spreads a $30m pool of money across 13 councils nationwide.

Both projects will have community groups taking a key role, in partnership with Gisborne District Council, Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti and Healthy Families East Cape.

Uawa resident Bessie Macey says she looks forward to seeing planter boxes and attractive seating areas to encourage both locals and manuhiri to stop and spend more time in the township.

“This will be a positive for our local businesses. It's a great opportunity to make our main street more inviting and user-friendly for all ages.”

The project will reinvigorate the township, create a vibrant space and give the community its main street back, says Jason Lines, who is part of Tapuwae Tairāwhiti Trails which is leading the project.

“It’s a massive opportunity.”

Mr Lines says now the funding has been approved they’ll work closely with the Uawa community.

“This is the exciting bit where it’s a mix of creativity and ideas that shape the ‘what ifs’ and ‘can we try’ from all ages and abilities.

Mr Lines says Councillor Pat Seymour has been a big advocate of this project, which will also complement the Uawa Trails project of creating a 5km cycleway around Uawa’s main centre.

Back in Gisborne, the Grey Street Linear Park project is being led by Tairāwhiti Adventure Trust (TAT). It covers the area from the roundabout on Childers Road to the new pedestrian crossing by the skate park. TAT owns the new skate park and also the new pump track across the road. It was while developing these areas the trustees realised the potential of opening some arterial routes so our community could access these new active recreation facilities by bike, scooter or skateboard.

“Basically any mode of transport that doesn’t involve a car”.

“If we get this project really dialled in, there’s no reason we couldn’t push it further or transform another street in the Gisborne CBD,” says Haimona Ngata, chair of Tairāwhiti Adventure Trust (TAT).

Mr Ngata and his fellow volunteer trustees are all parents and caregivers, they all work with youth and their vision is to start transitioning our city, and people’s minds.

“There are massive issues with our community not feeling safe using the roads here. And that’s warranted right now.

“Let’s look at roads differently. How do we take our foot off the gas to look after all our road users?

“The kid riding their bike to school and the logging truck on it’s way to the port are both users of the road. and both have a right to be on the road.”

Mr Ngata says now funding is confirmed it’s time to sit down with key stakeholders, business owners on Grey Street, and local mana whenua.

“Grey Street is our main arterial route that connects our city directly to the sea, or the awa to the moana. We’re aware there is a high volume of commercial and commuter traffic that uses Grey Street, and we’re not looking to stop that thoroughfare at all. This project will be about a transformation of Grey Street to allow our community to interact with the street better, encourage a shift in transportation away from cars and change our perceptions of how we use our streets.

“Working with the Journeys team at Council has been really progressive. They were open and receptive to our concept around the Grey Street area being perfect for Streets For People, and gave us free rein to put together a robust strategy and proposal to present to Waka Kotahi.

“I think one of the biggest takeaways is that we were able to work collaboratively towards a common goal, which is perhaps a new concept and way of doing things for Council.”

Gisborne District Council Community Lifelines Director David Wilson says it has been wonderful to support the community groups to make their ideas happen.

“This is the first of its kind for Council and we want to do more.”

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Urban Mobility Manager Kathryn King says she is very excited Gisborne District Council is on board to participate in the Streets for People programme.

“Streets for People enables councils to partner with their communities more easily, to create more welcoming spaces for people quickly.

“It’s becoming clear that our communities across Aotearoa New Zealand want safer and healthier streets that cater for everyone, and Streets for People is a step in the right direction to help achieve that.”


THE BEFORE PHOTO: In a couple of years the backdrop of this photo will look a lot different. A project to turn the main street in Uawa into a place that connects with the people again has been given $350,000 of funding. It’s one of two streets in Tairāwhiti that were successful in a national funding announcement by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency today. Jason Lines from Tapuwae Tairawhiti Trails and local Bessie Macey are supported by some of the community excited about the potential.

Grey Street

SAFER ROADS: A portion of Grey Street will have $350,000 on it in a project led by Tairāwhiti Adventure Trust. From left are trustees Nicki Davies, Haimona Ngata, Amy Spence, Shane Kingsbeer and Ricardo Christie. Absent are trustees Laird Kennedy and Natalie Teutenberg. They’re all parents or caregivers who volunteer with youth outside of their day jobs and their vision is to enable our upcoming generations to travel more safely on our roads, around town, on bikes, skateboards and scooters.