Horizons re-affirms commitment to fund essential elements of Te Pūwaha

Horizons re-affirms commitment to fund essential elements of Te Pūwaha

Horizons Regional Council has re-emphasised its commitments to the Te Pūwaha way of working, and has allocated funding towards enhancing the health and wellbeing of Te Awa Tupua.

Horizons have undertaken to deliver significant river training structures as part of the wider Te Pūwaha project. These training structures are integral to the economic viability of the Whanganui Port as they protect the riverbanks from further erosion, shifting the higher velocities away from the riverbank and encouraging the deposition of sediment. These types of large infrastructural enhancements create significant ecological effects and impacts on the community. Throughout the planning phase Horizons have undertaken significant engagement and consultation with the community to understand these effects, and made commitments in 2021 to continue creating abundance for the awa and wider community.

As a result of council’s decision, Horizons have re-allocated project funding towards the North Mole aspirational works, as well as funding to implement long-term enhancements that emphasise restoration and improve the awa. This long-term contribution from Horizons will sit alongside a further $1.05 million in funding allocated in Whanganui District Council’s (WDC) Long-term Plan, and $300,000 committed by WDC from the Better off Funding which has come from the Department of Internal Affairs.

As a result of hapū and community leadership last year, the North Mole aspirational works were successful in securing over $876,275 via the Ministry of Business Innovation & Employment’s (MBIE) Tourism Infrastructure Fund to deliver hard structures at the North Mole and surrounding area. Horizons funding of $400,000 will go towards soft scaping of the North Mole area, including reconstructing both the foredune and backdune, plants, volunteer planting coordination, sand ladders, educational signage and dune protection.

Jamie Waugh of Progress Castlecliff has been instrumental in leading this part of the project at the North Mole.

“It is great to see Horizons follow through on the commitments made to the Castlecliff community in 2021, with financial support for delivery of the aspirations at the North Mole. The contribution, together with contributions from Whanganui District Council, MBIE, private and charitable funders will ensure enhanced biodiversity, improved environmental outcomes, and climate resilience in balance with an improved amenity for the public,” he says.

“We are also grateful for hapū’s leadership and generosity in helping community and councils understand how the voice of the environment can be amplified for the benefit of all.”

A final concept plan for the area has recently been released, with works planned to begin in 2025.

Council’s decision also seeks to address historic losses and implement long-term enhancements that emphasise restoration and improve the awa, the wellbeing of the community, the river, iwi and hapū into the future.

“Council’s decisions are significant as each of Horizons-led projects within Te Pūwaha create an impact on Te Awa Tupua, as seen at the North Mole, and the rock stock piling, as well was what is planned for the Tanae Groyne, South Spit and South Mole,” says Horizons chair Rachel Keedwell.

“As a Council, and project partner, we want to own our impact, and provide solutions that enhance the wellbeing of the Whanganui River. By offering funding towards this, we have the opportunity to give back more than we take, and leave the awa in a healthier state, which in turn has a positive impact on our wider community.”

Council has agreed to initial funding of $250,000 for 2024-25, with further funding of $250,000 in 2025-26, and $100,000 per year until 2034 to go through future annual planning processes. This funding would be conditional on it being put forward to a joint fund with Whanganui District Council, and sits alongside funding already provided for the hard structures on behalf of Kānoa – Regional Economic Development & Investment Unit.

“The specific mechanics and methodology is yet to be discussed with hapū and our project partners. As a first step we wanted to formalise our commitment from Horizons so that we can come together as a collective with a resource available to contribute towards enhancing the health and wellbeing of the awa.”

The proposed methodology is to establish a governance approach where representatives of both councils, community and hapū collectively decide how the money should be spent. Therefore reaching the most beneficial outcome for the awa and the community, enabling strong contributions to Mouri Ora, Mouri Awa, Mouri Tangata.

Te Pūwaha project chair Kahureremoa Aki is pleased to see this commitment being made by Horizons.

“This project has been and continues to be an incredible journey, and it is great to see that Horizons as a council are making these types of decisions. Our project has a number of interdependent aspects and the North and South Moles need to be highlighted as critical aspects of this project.”

“We have always sought to create abundance through this project, and this reconfirmation of commitment by the council to Te Awa Tupua means this can be achieved above and beyond these interdependent aspects.”

Rachel Keedwell explains the first year of funding, along with the North Mole aspirational works have been allocated from within Horizons’ Te Pūwaha budget.

“It is important to make it clear that the funding commitments made today will come from allocated budgets from within the Te Pūwaha project. This means it is more likely that further funding, beyond the current allocated budgets will be required to deliver all components of Te Pūwaha committed to by Horizons. We acknowledge this, and remain committed to all upcoming components of this project, including the Tanae Groyne, South Spit and South Mole.”

“Horizons are progressing with the design and planning process for each component which will provide us with budget forecasts for these areas of work, and therefore determine whether additional funding is required for our agreed project outcomes.”

Te Pūwaha acknowledges the joint funding effort between Horizons Regional Council, Whanganui District Council and Kānoa – Regional Economic Development & Investment Unit in the delivery of the river training structures portion of the project.

Further information on Te Pūwaha can be found at The concept plan for the delivery of aspirations at the North Mole can be found at