Upgraded Naenae Subway Reflects Area’s Cultural Identity

Published: Wed 8 May 2024 05:56 PM
The upgraded Naenae subway designed to provide a safe, modern entry to the train station and an improved pedestrian connection to Avalon was blessed by Te Āti Awa, Taranaki Whānui and Greater Wellington today.Artwork featured in the Naenae subway (Supplied)
Adorning the walls and lighting the way through the subway are unique Māori elements created by Len Hetet, Te Āti Awa mana whenua cultural design lead and artist Manukorihi Winiata. Other improvements include illuminated handrails and canopies to signal entries and exits, new flooring, tunnel lighting, additional security cameras and a public announcement system.
Greater Wellington regional councillor Quentin Duthie says the Naenae community were at the heart of the redevelopment.
“The community strongly advocated for improvements, and we listened,” Cr Duthie says.
“Metlink worked with locals, Hutt City Council and mana whenua to design ways to make the subway safer, easier to navigate, and reflect the community it serves.
“After three years in the making, I hope the new look and feel of the subway will encourage people to make the most of the frequent rail services through Naenae and feel confident using public transport.”Cr Quentin Duthie walking through the subway tunnel (Supplied)
Metlink group manager Samantha Gain says the Naenae subway is the latest project in a growing list of bus stop and station upgrades across the network.
“Metlink has an array of infrastructure and network improvements underway, and it’s rewarding to see another project completed for our passengers,” says Ms Gain.
“It’s special when a project presents an opportunity to work with local artists and create public spaces that become part of the area’s identity.”
The artworks created by Len Hetet and Manukorihi Winiata acknowledge and celebrate people and place.
“The patterns and symbols tell the origin stories of the Waiwhetu and Te Awamutu rivers, and Te Ngaengae, the freshwater lake beneath Naenae,” Hetet says.
“The two rivers were formed by a great battle between two competing tupua (phenomenon), and are woven into the wider narrative of the hauling of Te Ika-a-Māui (the North Island) from the sea by Maui Potiki.
“I felt it was important that the artwork embodies this place and its people.”
“We can all be proud,” Lillian Pak from Team Naenae Trust says. “Just as this station connects Naenae to the rest of the Wellington Region, this project has connected all those involved.”
For more information about the Naenae subway upgrade and other Metlink projects, visit:

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