Infrastructure Climate Resilience Projects

In 2020, central government’s budget included $210 million for climate resilience and flood protection projects across New Zealand. This funding formed part of government’s response to the economic impacts of COVID-19. Horizons Regional Council received $26.9 million of this funding from Kānoa, the government’s Regional Economic Development & Investment Unit (REDIU). Horizons contribution to the four projects is an additional $9 million.  This collaborative funding has enabled Council to accelerate work on four Infrastructure Climate Resilience Projects, which were already planned or underway, to increase our river communities resilience to the effects of climate change.

The funding will also create new employment opportunities - we’ve conservatively estimated the number of jobs created as 36 across Horizons, external consultants and contractors. These projects will not only assist in keeping our communities safer but will help boost the region’s economy as work on maintaining and building new infrastructure progresses. The completion date for all four projects is March 2024.

Te Awahou Foxton Climate Resilience Project

In recent years Foxton has experienced flood events which have highlighted the inadequacy of the current drainage system. Horizons and Horowhenua District Council have been responding jointly to this issue, with funding set aside in both councils’ current Long-term Plans. 

The Te Awahou Foxton Flood Mitigation Project was a recipient of central government’s climate resilience funding in 2020 and aimed to improve Foxton’s level of flood defence to 1 in 50 year standard with an allowance for climate change by March 2024.
In May, while a lot of work had already gone into design, consenting and construction of elements of the original design for this project, Council arrived at a decision point. The combination of inflation costs, challenges of purchasing land required for some parts of the design and consenting timeframes with the 2024 deadline required a reassessment of options. Council considered a range of options and resolved to go with one that sees works continue to build resilience in the township as a step towards the goals of the original project.
This includes works upstream of the town and along Kings Canal, a pumpstation on Purcell Street, and construction of a wetland on Cook Street. The next steps included confirming arrangements with funding partners, completing further modelling and design, and preparing works for the coming construction season.


Cook Street culvert upgraded to a 1.5m x 2.5m box culvert, entranceway and fencing reinstated.

Original (not current) Te Awahou Foxton Climate Resilience Project Factsheet

Foxton East Drainage Scheme Webinar

Lower Manawatū Scheme Climate Resilience Project

Horizons has been investing on behalf of ratepayers in increased flood protection standards for the Lower Manawatū area since 2006, as a result of the impacts of the devastating 2004 floods. This has included raising/rebuilding stopbanks, replacing the Kopane Bridge and constructing the Burkes Pump Station.
Following the injection of additional funding from Kānoa-REDIU, the Lower Manawatū scheme (LMS) resilience project was established. This project includes further strengthening of the stopbank network and building resilience at key locations. This project is anticipated to take three years and will create local employment opportunities.
The LMS resilience project encompasses several sub projects along the Lower Manawatū Scheme. Work is currently underway for flood mitigation and general maintenance along the Hartley Street sea wall in Foxton. This includes restoration of the existing rock armouring with new natural rock. Similar work is planned for Te Matai Road, Palmerston North. Work is also in the planning stage for upgrading the Moutoa floodway outlet (Piri Harakeke). This will be jointly undertaken with the Foxton East flood mitigation project.

LMS Climate Resilience Project factsheet

This photograph shows the degraded Hartley Street sea wall, Foxton Beach prior to Horizons carrying out maintenance work.  The end result of this work will be a more attractive, naturally lined rock wall that provides additional protection to nearby homes and recreational walkway.


Palmerston North Climate Resilience Project

The scope of the Palmerston North flood protection resilience project work includes upgrades to flood defences (primarily stopbanks) and the replacement of a number of aging assets, along with new work which will include additional amenities, such as pathways and signage, and enhancing public access to the Manawatū River and Mangaone Stream.

One of the key enhancement projects Horizons is working on, in consultation with Rangitāne and Palmerston North City Council, is upgrading the area around the northern end of the Manawatū River bridle path. Plans include changing the current shady and often damp area to a river access path with bright open spaces, riparian planting, artwork and signage identifying the significance of the site. This work began in July 2021, with removal of some of the poplar trees currently shading the site.

Along the Mangaone Stream several pieces of ageing infrastructure are also being upgraded – from below Flyers Line to the confluence of the Manawatū River. Work will include realigning a section of the Mangaone Stream stopbank near Pioneer Highway.

Palmerston North Climate Resilience Project factsheet

This rig is being used to conduct cone penetration testing (CPT), an in-situ test that is used to identify soil types, on the stopbanks of the Manawatū River and Managaone Stream. In this test, a cone penetrometer is pushed into the ground at a standard rate and data is recorded at regular intervals during penetration. This gives us important information about the composition of the stopbank and also the ground the stopbank is built on, identifying areas where further river management work is required.

Work started in July 2021 to remove some of the poplar trees currently shading the site at the northern end of the Manawatū River bridle path.


Rangitīkei River Climate Resilience Project

We are currently developing a new management strategy for the Rangitīkei River that recognises the dynamic nature of the river. The intention is to moves towards a more resilient river system that has ‘more room’ while accommodating goals of greater river character, greater river biodiversity, and enhanced public access and recreational opportunity.
This project focuses on only the Lower Rangitīkei River from Bulls to the sea and includes:
•    Addressing the risk of river avulsion against the Parewanui Stopbank through channel widening activities such
     as removing non-native vegetation mechanically, and aerial spraying and gravel management which creates
     multiple river channel options;
•    Slowly transitioning pastoral land into a continuous native plant corridor alongside the river;
•    Flood resilience work - for example the Scotts Ferry Rock Lining Repair;
•    Wetland options along the Parewanui No.1. Drain; and
•    The creation of pathways for recreational use along some parts of the stopbank
The project is intended to have positive environmental and social outcomes for the Rangitīkei River and its users.

Rangitīkei River Climate Resilience Project factsheet

Horizons staff are currently working with Ngā Wairiki Ngāti Apa on enhancement of the Tutaenui Stream at the confluence with the Rangitītikei River as part of the Lower Rangitītikei Enhancement Project. This involves exotic tree clearance and clearing channel blockage, plus fencing and planting along the stream which should be completed in 2022. 

Rock diverted for Rangitīkei River emergency works
During Level 4 lock down a couple of small flood events eroded the right bank of the Rangitīkei River near Burns Ford Road. Emergency repairs were carried out to protect the base of the stopbank and prevent further damage occurring. To achieve this, rock intended for the repair work to existing rock lining of the Rangitīkei River at Scotts Ferry, was diverted to the emergency works. 

Flood Resilience improvement for Tangimoana Beach road
An addition to the Rangitīkei River stopbank has been built across the Tangimoana Beach Road. It joins up on both sides with the current stopbank and makes the area more resilient to flooding by raising the road to stopbank height. Previously, when the flood action plan was triggered for the Rangitīkei River, flood gates were transported from Marton and installed on the Tangimoana Beach Road. This was a logistics nightmare and would not be possible if the river breached its banks at Bulls.