Bold designs mooted for upgraded Naenae Subway

Greater Wellington is urging the Naenae community to provide feedback on its proposals to re-develop the Naenae subway areas to provide a safer, brighter, more efficient and culturally richer environment for travellers and commuters.

The plans are a result of Greater Wellington working in partnership with the Naenae community, Hutt City Council and mana whenua to identify what the community wanted from the re-development.

“The existing subway has served us well over 50 years but it’s now time to look to bring it up to the standard of the Naenae Station platform area, so we’ve listened to the local community and taken our inspiration from it.

“Early consultation showed a strong desire for a safer and more usable environment which reflects the cultural profile and diversity of the area,” says Greater Wellington’s acting general manager for Metlink, Samantha Gain.

“We’ve heard what the community wants and we hope that’s reflected in the exciting and bold concepts on which we’re seeking feedback. Now’s the time for people to speak up and really influence the final designs.”

A brighter and safer environment is the number one objective of the proposals, which will bring improvements to security through the installation of CCTV and PA systems and significantly better LED lighting.

Wayfinding will also be much improved through the introduction of illuminated “floating” pavilion canopies at the street and platform entry points. All these initiatives improve the accessibility of the subway and station, too.

The station’s subways, which are narrow and low, will undergo major change with the installation of better lighting, an illuminated continuous handrail, smart horizontal panelling and new floor surfaces that will greatly improve the user experience.

Subways and platforms will also be bound together by a coloured ribbon system that will run down the stairs and ramps and through the tunnels and, potentially, out to the surrounding streetscapes as a guiding path.

“New panelling and lighting will give us some exciting opportunities to display public art and create cultural experiences,” says Samantha Gain.

The design will complement a design template that will bind the new Naenae Pool and Hillary Court projects, which was inspired by Naenae’s strong cultural narrative.

Creation of the cultural narrative followed extensive research by Hutt City Council, including   research, community-wide letter drops, and stakeholder engagement that determined exactly what the community cares about, values and want to see in their spaces.

From this direction, Hutt City Council engaged mana whenua to develop the cultural narrative, provided by Kura Moeahu of Te Ahi Awa and designed by Len Hetet, and both Maori and non-Maori history is celebrated. Ultimately, it will be used across the valley and into Wainuiomata.

Different design elements will be used throughout the station’s pedestrian areas on walls and flooring, which connects (honohono) people, land and sea through bold (kaha) imagery and invites people to celebrate mana whenua values (manaaki) and engage with them.

“We want community feedback on their first impression of the proposed subway improvement, what they do and don’t like, what kinds of imagery the want projected onto the wall panels and what kind of soundscapes or music they would like to hear in the tunnels,” says Samantha Gain.

Consultation is open until 17 May, and people can view the design concepts and have their say at Have Your Say(external link). A combination of social media, posters, newsletters and pamphlets and community engagement will also be used to give people every opportunity to express their views.