Cultural and historical sites along bike network

A te ao Māori perspective to the development of the city’s bike network.

Te Āti Awa Taranaki Whānui has been working in partnership with Wellington City Council to bring a te ao Māori perspective to the development of the city’s bike network.

As routes and connections are planned, places of cultural and historical significance are being identified and highlighted. These include awa that once flowed through these areas and are now piped underground, former wetlands and lagoons.

At these sites a niho taniwha design is being painted in blue or etched on the surface of the bike lane. In some locations, murals or other artworks are also being developed.

Close up of Sites of Significance road Markings: Botanic Gardens to City Route Launch 2023

Whārikitia te Whenua – the cultural design story for the network

Working together and using a co-design process, Taranaki Whānui has developed Whārikitia te Whenua, the cultural design story (narrative) for the network.  

This story relates to the great tupua Whātaitai and Ngake, who fashioned the land using seismic activity to create Te Whanganui a Tara, the great harbour of the ancestor Tara. For mana whenua this is likened to the gifting of a whāriki (woven mat) laid upon earth mother, intrinsically connecting and binding us to the land and sea. 

Whāriki refers to a plaiting or weaving technique and mats made using this technique. The technique requires papa or individual patterned panels to be woven. These are then connected by intertwining threads, or hiki, to form a woven mat. 

The bike network, and rationale for it, allows mana whenua to identify and acknowledge our papa as areas of cultural significance, and to embed the mouri (life force) into these areas, using the bike network as a metaphorical thread to bind them. 

The blue and etched niho taniwha designs on the bike lanes and paths are cultural expressions that link the story and whāriki together. 

Whārikitia te Whenua acknowledges we are guardians of this land and we must look after it to survive. Providing the means for more people to move safely through spaces while acknowledging the rich cultural history is one of the ways we are doing that. 

Bike network areas