Waikanae Station Opens

Road protesters greet Joyce at Railway ceremony

By Alan Tristram
February 19, 2011

A large crowd of anti -Expressway protesters greeted Transport Minister Steven Joyce at the opening of the new Waikanae Railway Station.

The ceremony marked the  completion of an $86 million project to electrify and double track the lines to Waikanae and build a new commuter station and car park at Waikanae.

A group of more than 120 protesters from all sections of the community assembled with balloons  in the Waikanae Town Centre and were later joined by many more protesters at the Railway Station.

They said they were angry at Mr Joyce’s decision to back the Expressway which will cut through the heart of Kapiti.

Sue Hurst, of Paekakariki:'I don't think what they are doing is right.'Photo by Jan Lowe (c).

National, regional and local politicians were out in force for the opening – as well as a crowd estimated at up to a thousand people.

New Matangi units popular

After the politicians had spoken, local people crowded onto one of the new 48 new Matangi electric trains, due to come into service on the line in July.

Several of the politicians paid tribute to local Maori and the Parata family, who gave land for the original railway and also made laid available for parking at the new station.

The ceremony began with an Iwi blessing of the whole station and the new Matangi train.

It ended with Otaki MP Nathan Guy and Transport Minister Joyce sledge hammering a symbolic spike into memorial rails on the station forecourt.

This had special significance for Mr Guy as his great grandfather hammered the last spike into place at Otaihanga in 1886 when the Main Trunk line was completed.

Mr Guy spoke of the historic part played by Te Ati Awa in providing land to help to build the Main Trunk Line.

But when he lauded the Government’s plans for Road of National Significance (including the Expressway) he was booed by restive protesters.

In fact, the real hero of the occasion appeared to be the one politician not on the speaking list — Labour MP Darren Hughes.

Huge cheers greeted references to his name and a poster circulated thanking him and the Labour Party for their part in getting the rail project funded and under way.

‘One of the biggest milestones’

Speaking for the organizer of the project — the Regional Council — Chair Fran Wilde said a regular commuter service to Waikanae is a one of the biggest milestones in the Wellington regional rail improvement programme, which kicked off in early 2007.

The programme, funded by Greater Wellington and contracted to KiwiRail, includes a brand new fleet of 48 Matangi trains, new signalling systems, a much stronger power supply and new substations, a third line into Wellington Station, a major upgrade of the Johnsonville Line and double tracking and electrification to Waikanae.

Balloons at height of Expressway

As the official opening proceeded, the crowd of protesters stood, mostly in silence, holding one-metre round helium balloons to symbolise each property that will be demolished if the ‘Road of National Significance’ goes ahead.

The balloons floated nine metres in the air – symbolising the height of the proposed Expressway — and banners at ground level stated ‘Railways Yes, Expressways No’, ‘Raumati Station Next, Please’, and ‘Roads 2 Debt – Please don’t sell our state assets for roads

Earlier, Waikanae residents affected by the Expressway — and groups from Otaki, Te Horo and the rest of Kapiti — had marched from the town centre to the railway station to make their point.

And residents’ spokesperson, Jonathan Gradwell, said: “While we fully support this new station, thanks to the hard work of Darren Hughes and the last government, and Fran Wilde at Greater Wellington, this is an opportunity to let Steven Joyce know that we strongly oppose the proposed expressway.

“It will destroy our environment, health and lifestyle. It has already had a huge impact on dividing our community, just through the ‘consultation’ period (or lack of).”

He added: “The National-led government wants to spend $10 billion dollars of taxpayer money and sell our state assets to build roads that are uneconomic and unnecessary.

“Putting a motorway through our community is a 1950’s solution to our frustrating peak-time problems on the Kapiti Coast. It is not the best answer to our traffic woes.”

Dealing strictly with the celebrations of the rail improvements on Saturday. They were a long time coming. I wrote an Editorial Opinion on Electrification of Rail to Waikanae, printed in the Kapiti Mail May 2nd 2000.
The trains will make a difference to Waikanae, and Greater Wellington should be congratulated. There will be teething troubles to begin with, especially for bus users. A promise was made that services would be reviewed to see how they were performing.

For the protestors re: Expressway. You got your point across without
violence, the balloons and placards were effective. My heart goes out to all those who are in danger of losing homes, keep your courage flying high, there’s a long way to go before any road is built.

I was sickened, listening to the lame excuses the minister came up with for the expressway, such as the current SH1 is unsafe. What rubbish, when it was recently
rated 3 out of 5 by NZTA for safety. This government really has a lot to answer for –
the pain, anguish, distress, and misery it has foisted on the people of Kapiti. It has
destroyed peoples lives and shortened many by a number of years. The minister
should focus on public transport and acknowledge cars are a bad lifestyle choice.

In February – March 2005 I was spray painting http://www.oilcrash.com over National Party billboards, and after repeated warning by the National Party not to do more they took me to court for willful damage, I was fined $1,660 and given 50 hours community work, then on my way out of court I spotted another National Party billboard, which I attached several http://www.oilcrash.com posters to, this cost me another $100.00 and another 100 hours community work, with 3 months in prison on the cards if I offended again.
The interesting thing is the name of the person I had to pay the $1760.00 restitution to was Steven Joyce as the then National Party campaign manager.
So dose Steven Joyce know about peak oil? If he claims he doesn’t then were was he in 2005? All the money was collected in his name.
They know this road will never be built, they know peak oil heralds the end of grandiose idiot ideas that are unsustainable, but at least while the common masses are focusing on these idiot ideas they can keep diving the country into abject poverty, then sell all our assets to there banker mates, as is happening all over the world.
We don’t have leaders anymore, all we have are real estate sales people.

The reason Whakarongotai marae was moved from Tuku Rakau to its present place is because of Parata Pride, not Aati awa pride.
Whakarongotai Marae was moved under protest by Kuia and koroua.
Whakarongotai was moved (1861) on the understanding that ALL trains stopped to acknowledge the gifting of the lands to the New Zealand Railway.
How often does that happen today? It does not happen at ALL.
Only the Parata W’anau got free travel in the Old days not the people of Aati Awa.
Brent Lindsay
Aati Awa and Scots descent.

What a fantastic day – well done one and all.
I personally talked to Stephen Joyce and he had the ignorance to use the phrase “the majority support the road”.
How out of touch is he ?
Seventy five percent in the recent newspaper poll oppose this road – and that was open to Wellington residents not just those affected in Kapiti.
Even at it’s best only thirty six percent wanted this in 2009 and that was when NZTA said no homes would be affected.
I suggested to him that he might like one of the anti-expressway stickers for his brand new BMW.


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