Te UreweraState Highway 38

Project Details

  • Project Name: Te Urewera
  • Client: NZTA / Waka Kotahi
  • Location: State Highway 38
  • Type: General Advisory
  • Completed: February 2020
  • Key Veros Team Members: Adele Hadfield
  • Services Provided: Business Case Drafting
    Project Reestablishment
    Stakeholder Engagement


Te Urewera Road is recognised as one of the country’s most scenic routes, providing access to Lake Waikaremoana and remote communities. The original project, established in 2015, was to develop sustainable options for improving the conditions of part of State Highway 38 – 64 kilometres of steep and winding gravel. Veros were appointed to re-establish this project after a number of years when the project had not advanced.

It was critical to ensure that the principals of Te Kawa o Te Urewera underpinned the development of options. Te Urewera lies between the Bay of Plenty and Hawke’s Bay in the North Island. The nearest towns are Whakatane and Tāneatua to the north, Murupara and Ruatahuna to the west and Wairoa to the east.


A unique part of New Zealand,  Te Urewera was established as a legal entity and protected for its intrinsic worth, its distinctive natural and cultural values, the integrity of those values and its national importance in The Te Urewera Act 2014.  The Act also acknowledged the relationship between Tūhoe and Te Urewera and provided for the strengthening and maintenance of this connection.

NZTA needed to develop and analyse a broad range of measures, improving the overall accessibility, safety and travel efficiency along the SH 38 corridor between Murupara and Fraser Town. They required assistance to re-establish the project and advance it so that a Single Stage Business Case could be written to support the project moving to the delivery stage. A key component of this was resetting the relationship with Tūhoe through a deeper understanding of the role of Tūhoe and the status of Te Urewera.

Veros coordinated the reestablishment of the project. Working with key project team members to:

  • Rescope the project
  • Identify a way forward that would contribute to strengthened relationships with Tūhoe
  • Draft the Strategic Case for the SSBC.


NZTA are now positioned to deliver the final SSBC and implement the project along SH38 in a manner that addresses key concerns and takes into account key opportunities developed through the Business Case process.

The delivery of more secure and safe access through SH38 will:

  • Reduce travel time and travel cost for tangata whenua and visitors
  • Align with the principles of Te Kawa o Te Urewera