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Te Ahu a Turanga: Manawatū Tararua Highway Alliance wins 2021 Diversity Works NZ Award

Te Ahu a Turanga: Manawatū Tararua Highway Alliance won the Mātauranga Māori category of the 2021 Diversity Works NZ Awards.

The intricately carved Waka Tangata embodies the Alliance’s charter and values, which are grounded in Mātauranga Māori.

07 October 2021 – Te Ahu a Turanga: Manawatū Tararua Highway Alliance won the Mātauranga Māori (Small-Medium Organisation) category of the 2021 Diversity Works NZ Awards for its unique approach to partnering with Iwi and commitment to embedding Te ao Māori (Māori world view) throughout project delivery.

The $620 million roading project, currently under construction in New Zealand’s lower North Island, has set a new benchmark for infrastructure delivery.

In an historic ‘first’ for Aotearoa, the five Iwi who have a connection to the area (Rangitāne o Manawatū, Rangitāne o Tamaki nui-a-Rua, Ngāti Kahungunu ki Tāmaki nui-a-Rua, Te Runanga o Raukawa Ngāti Raukawa and Nga Kaitiaki ō Ngāti Kauwhata) are partners in the delivery Alliance alongside Aurecon, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, HEB Construction, Fulton Hogan and WSP.

The project is being delivered in accordance with the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and Te ao Māori is integrated into the design and celebrates the area’s rich cultural heritage. As project partners, Iwi are represented at levels of the project.

The Alliance culture is grounded in Mātauranga Māori, brought to life through a Whakawhānaungatanga induction when new team members join the Alliance, karakia at Alliance hui (or workshops) and before commencing construction in an area, and Te Reo Māori classes for team members.


Aurecon Managing Director NZ Tracey Ryan said it was pleasing to see the Alliance’s unique culture and commitment to partnership recognised with this award.

"The Te Ahu a Turanga Alliance is leaving a fantastic legacy for the region and everyone involved – restoring a strategic connection between the Manawatū and Hawkes Bay, creating jobs and skills for the local community, and providing a rich opportunity for the project team to deepen their knowledge of Mātauranga Māori and Te Reo Māori."

Aurecon’s Head of Projects NZ (and recent Alliance Project Director), Tim Watterson said the award reflects the Alliance’s commitment to making the partnership a reality and creating a true culture of diversity and inclusion.

"Being part of the partnership journey has been a fantastic experience and shows what can be achieved by embracing Whakawhānaungatanga (relationship building) and working together as one. Something that really stood out for me was the team’s willingness to try new things while respecting cultural values and working towards a shared vision that celebrates the area’s rich cultural heritage."

Te Ahu a Turanga: Manawatū Tararua Highway is a 11.5km highway currently under construction in the lower North Island of New Zealand to replace the section of State Highway 3 running through the Manawatū Gorge that was closed indefinitely due to ongoing large landslips. The new highway route traverses the Ruahine Ranges through culturally significant landscape.

Aurecon is delivering the project as part of an Alliance. Our work comprises planning, consenting, engineering design, digital and construction phase services, as well as advisory services. The highway is due for completion in 2024.

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