Te Pūwaha: community conversation on dredging and reclamation

Survey will close on April 22 2022, 05:00 pm

Whanganui Port basin

Whanganui District Council and Te Pūwaha project partners plan to dredge in the Whanganui river port area to build and maintain the port. We invite you to join the conversation about the work that is planned, and share with us your ideas and aspirations for the port area, including your thoughts about an exciting opportunity to create a reclaimed area for wetlands and a space for the community to enjoy in future. 

Te Puwaha Project is the first true community led exercise for management of a project under the new legal status of the Whanganui River as Te Awa Tupua. Whanganui District Council has planned investment in strengthening of the aged wharves at the port as part of a long term social, recreational and economic plan for the area. The current project is an initial phase of the longer-term plan to encourage economic development and employment opportunities for locals through a revitalised port.

Te Pūwaha includes Whanganui District Council rebuilding wharves 2 and 3, and a large hardstand area with the creation of a vessel hoist runway. Boatbuilders Q-West will relocate to a new facility to be built on the land adjoining the Port area and are purchasing the vessel hoist that will service the new hardstand. These combined works are fundamental to developing a new marine precinct for boat servicing and to secure future commercial use of the wharves. Dredging is necessary to enable the use of the rebuilt wharves and safe passage for vessels. Consent for the wharf and hardstand/runway builds was filed in December.

Te Pūwaha is being progressed through a Te Awa Tupua lens as a consequence of 2017 legislation that recognises the Whanganui River and all its tributaries as a living and indivisible whole, inclusive of hapū and the wider community. Find out more about Te Pūwaha and the innovative way project partners are working together on the project pages.

The council understands the need to be inclusive, not just of iwi and hapū, but of the whole community when it comes to the River. As a council we are committed to our community obligation to Tupua te Kawa and Te Awa Tupua. We want to have a conversation with the community around dredging and reclamation and the project is really excited to hear your views. Community feedback is valued and will help inform our dredging consent, which requires public notification.

We are now excited to move into a phase to work with the community around dredging in the Whanganui river port area as well as proposing to reclaim an area for wetlands and public use. We invite you to join the conversation being lead by the council and hapū about the work that is planned. Please share with us your ideas and aspirations for the port area, including your thoughts about an exciting opportunity to create an ecological and community space for the community to enjoy in future. 

Key things to know

Before you complete the survey, click to expand the sections below and read some key points to help inform your feedback.


  • Dredging is the process of clearing the port catchment area of silt, sediment and sand that has travelled from upstream and tidal movement.

  • Dredging is necessary to create a safe port and marine precinct, ensuring the water is deep enough for vessels to berth at the wharves. The Whanganui Port currently undertakes periodic safety dredging to maintain a usable channel for the Coastguard and recreational vessels from the Wharf Street slipway.

  • As part of Te Pūwaha, dredging will initially be required to enable the wharves to be rebuilt, and then to allow the ongoing operation of the new wharves and marine precinct infrastructure.

  • The priority dredging areas are coloured vivid green on the image below. The depth in the priority dredging area will range between -4.5m and -2.5m below the lowest tides.

  • Specialists have informed the project on dredging in order to reduce the impact on any marine life, and on how and where the marine and coastal ecosystem may benefit from the port development. You can read several specialist reports on the Te Pūwaha project pages

  • Once the wharves are built, dredging will be necessary to maintain a suitable depth to allow the wharves to be used by a range of small commercial and recreational vessels. 


  • When the river is dredged, excess silt, sediment, and sand are removed and need to be put somewhere else.

  • More solid sand and sediment materials can be used for reclamation – to create land area and / or spaces on land.

  • A proposal for use of the suitable dredged materials to create a reclamation has been formed in collaboration with project partners Te Mata Pūau. This proposal is to add additional layers of sand to the naturally forming area of reclaimed land behind the existing Q-West building off Gilberd Street towards the back of the recreational slipway on Wharf Street.

  • Once created, the reclamation area would be a public space that can be further developed with input from the community. Reclamation is therefore part of the council's dredging and reclamation consent, to be filed in May 2022.

  • The initial dredging (years 1-3) is likely to mainly result in fine silt which is not suitable for forming reclaimed land so other sediment disposal locations are being sought, including returning the sediment to the river flow to continue its journey.

  • The concept images below shows what the proposed reclamation space could look like and are only suggestions. Ideas include an enclosed water space for recreational activities, such as swimming and waka ama, grassy areas for the public to enjoy, a children’s play area and new walking and cycling connections. 

  • We welcome your views about this opportunity to create an exciting space for the whole community to use. These proposals will only be developed in detail once any reclamation is underway and complete. 



Please share your thoughts / Homai o whakaaro 

Feedback closed at 5pm on Friday, 22 April 2022. Thank you to all who shared their ideas with us!


Whanganui Port, Todd Street, Castlecliff 4501  View Map

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