Expressway decisions delayed

If you’re frustrated by the high volume of traffic between Waikawa Beach and either Levin or Ōtaki, and concerned about your safety between here and Levin then you’ll be interested in what’s happening about the Expressway. Unfortunately, things won’t be resolved soon:

The future of a proposed expressway between Ōtaki and Levin, north of Wellington, appears more uncertain … Residents … had been told a final route would be chosen by June.

But the [New Zealand Transport Agency] now says it will be months before it can confirm the route …

Future of Ōtaki to Levin expressway uncertain after NZTA says it is being ‘re-evaluated and reconsidered’

Long load following.
Long load following.

Driving along SH1 between here and Levin is inevitably an experience. There are stretches where pedestrians or cyclists are on the side of the road, some slow farm vehicle is hugging the shoulder, huge trucks are coming in the opposite direction and people who can’t wait a millisecond are overtaking in spite of yellow lines. A couple of weeks ago I almost hit what I later realised was a pig crossing the road in front of me at 9 pm.

Since 2013, there have been 11 deaths and 43 serious injuries along the sections of SH1 and SH57, which the expressway would replace as the main route through the area.

In March, former coroner Philip Comber said that, over the past 25 years, the roads had become “a killing field marked like a battlefield with white crosses”.

Scrap metal truck in Levin.
Scrap metal truck in Levin.

That’s hardly surprising given the mix of traffic using the road. And with the road and bridge construction both north and south of us we also see high volumes of trucks carrying enormous machinery, concrete structures and building supplies.

… uncertainty has swirled around the project since April when the Government announced new priorities for land transport.

It proposed taking money away from the previous Government’s Roads of National Significance projects … to focus on rail projects and road safety.

Imagine if we could drive to Manakau, somehow easily cross SH1 and then take any one of numerous and inexpensive trains or buses to our destination of choice, day or night, weekday or weekend, as though we were living in Europe. But without the millions of people who also live in Europe. And that’s a public transport problem: New Zealand simply doesn’t have the population density of Europe.

To see crash statistics along ‘our’ stretch of SH1 look at the NZ Transport Agency manages the Crash Analysis System, an interactive map that allows you to filter out crashes by severity. I counted 21 fatal accidents on SH1 between the Ōtaki roundabout and Hokio Beach Road between 2001 and now. That doesn’t include crashes on side roads. Note: you have to zoom in sufficiently to see the data.

It’s pleasing to see no fatal, or even serious crashes between the village and Ketemaringi Place, though there have been a number of minor crashes along Waikawa Beach Road.

In fact, yesterday neither a fence nor the car that crashed through it did very well out of the encounter.

Fence bested by car.
Fence bested by car.

Car through fence opposite 565 waikawa beach road.
Car through fence opposite 565 Waikawa Beach Road.

The Greenhaven house at the corner of Waikawa Beach Road

Have you noticed the new Greenhaven house at the corner of Waikawa Beach Road and SH1? There’s a write-up about it at Scoop News: Sustainable prefabricated homes to be built in Levin plant:

Greenhaven Homes was established in mid-2016, and to date, they have built 50 homes mostly in the Wellington region and all within a three-hour radius of Levin.

There’s at least one in Waikawa Beach village and the owners love it.

With a Lifemark Four Star rating, the homes are designed to allow all day sun, so there are no cold, damp back rooms. They’re breathable homes, and humidity is half that of a standard home. A controlled central heating system ensures the home remains warm when the heat dissipates from the concrete (passive solar strip), and at a fraction of the price of heating a traditional home.

“By 2020 we’ll build 100 homes a year, and 80 of them will be built in a prefabrication plant in Levin.”

This year is set to be a big one for Greenhaven Homes. The week before Easter it opened a new show home at the corner of State Highway One, and Waikawa Beach Road, and more than 200 people went through it in the first couple of days. Since then, Greenhaven Homes has completed the purchase of 2.5 hectares on Main South Road in Levin to build its prefabrication plant.

As we know, Horowhenua is growing and, it seems, becoming a construction hub:

On average, Horowhenua will need 244 new homes every year for the next 20 years. Kāpiti through to Wellington is also growing, as is Palmerston North.

“Greenhaven Homes is positioning itself to be part of the solution,” says Mr Grainger. “Horowhenua is doing the same — we are becoming the construction hub for the lower and central North Island for both commercial and residential builds.”

I guess soon we can add houses to the variety of large and unusual vehicles we see as we travel in to Levin, along with Army trucks, logging trucks, farm vehicles, road-building machinery, boats, and more.

Manakau Quiz Night, 01 December 2017

Our friends at Manakau are running one of their regular quiz nights on 01 December 2017. Why not sign up for an evening of fun? It’s all in a good cause.

Date: Friday 1st December 2017

Time 7.30 start

Location: Manakau Bowling and Sports Club. Corner of Honi Taipua and Mokena Kohere Streets

Cost: $10 per person

Teams: Maximum of 12 teams with 5 per team. If you don’t have 5 we can help you make up a team on the night

Register your team by contacting

Kimbal 36 26 395 or

John 36 26 723 or

Refreshments: The Bowling club bar will be open. Light snack food will be served during the evening

The MDCA will be running raffles during the evening with all funds raised being used by the MDCA for projects that benefit the community

Manakau quiz night 01 December 2017.
Manakau quiz night 01 December 2017.

See the flyer: Manakau quiz night 01 December 2017. 67 KB PDF.

Manakau Hotel bounces back

The future of the Manakau Pub is undecided: cafe and restaurant or tourist accommodation?

It was only recently that we spotted the news that landmark Manakau Hotel was giving up on being a restaurant and cafe to switch to being rental apartments. See Manakau pub goes residential in October 2017. Now, already, they’ve switched back again.

The Horowhenua Chronicle of 27 October 2017 reports that the owners are looking for leaseholders to reopen the pub as a cafe and bar. But then the owners say if they can’t find someone within the next 2 months they’ll turn the entire building into tourist accommodation.

So, with any luck we’ll have Sunday roast sussed again.

Manakau pub plans change.
Manakau pub plans change.

Manakau pub goes residential in October 2017

The Manakau Pub has been a pub, cafe and restaurant for a while, though with several changes of ownership over the last few years. Now it’s to be apartments.

The Manakau Pub has been a pub, cafe and restaurant for a while, though with several changes of ownership over the last few years. Now it’s to be apartments.

The NZ Herald says:

The hotel shut its doors about a month ago and the building’s owners since 2007, John and Adrienne Powell, have been converting the building into self-contained apartments to rent.

Tenants will also have access to a communal lounge area with a pool table and a large garden.

Manakau pub early in 2017.
Manakau pub early in 2017.

The building has been around for a while, although the sign in the photo says it was established in 1920.

This intriguing sentence refers to the late 1800s. I presume it refers to the Manakau Hotel of the following paragraphs: The Cyclopedia Of New Zealand [Taranaki, Hawke’s Bay & Wellington Provincial Districts] Otaki says:

Mr. Tompsitt then built the Manakau Hotel, which he successfully conducted for nine years …

In 1911 there was a dispute about sale of the building. The licensee had been found guilty of permitting drunkenness and the license had been endorsed. When a new buyer discovered that, the purchase fell through.

According to the Evening Post, Volume Xci, Issue 146, 21 June 1916, in 1916 the hotel was:

under the able management of Mr. J. W. Davies, favourably known in Shannon, where he was previously proprietor of the Albion Hotel. Since taking over the hotel at Manakau Mr. Davies has had it thoroughly renovated, and visitors can rely on getting real good accommodation at a moderate tariff, and the very best wines, ales, and spirits procurable.

A newspaper article in the Marlborough Express, Volume Liii, Issue 264, 10 November 1919 tells us the original building was destroyed by fire with the loss of one life. The lease was about to expire, and the furniture was to have been sold at auction.

Unfortunately it seems that fire hit the owner hard as a week later he died, as The Colonist, Volume Lxii, Issue 15229, 17 November 1919 tells us: [the] South African veteran, had several, heart attacks since last Sunday, when the hotel was burned and a woman lost her life. A heart seizure this morning proved fatal.

As for now, let’s hope the apartments idea works out. It’s sad to lose that Sunday Roast though.