Protecting ecological values during construction of a safe and accessible pathway.

The Christchurch Coastal Pathway is a 6.5 km shared-use pathway from Ihutai | Avon Heathcote Estuary intended to improve transport and recreation infrastructure and support safe accessibility to the coast for residents and visitors.

The Moncks Bay section runs along a narrow rocky coastline with sensitive ecological values including kororā (white-flippered penguin) breeding and moulting areas, and areas of intertidal mudflat with At Risk – Declining karepō (native seagrass).

Boffa Miskell led the ecological impact assessments and penguin management during construction for the shared-use pathway on the southeastern edge of Ihutai | Avon Heathcote Estuary and ensured that ecological values were protected while supporting provision of safe and accessible infrastructure.



Worked with

Fulton Hogan
Planz Consultants
Wildlife Detection Dogs (Alistair Judkins and Mena the dog)

Project date

2020 - 2023


Rodney Davies Project Award

Boffa Miskell provided Christchurch City Council (CCC) with an ecological assessment and advice on the Rapanui to Sumner section of the Pathway in 2017-2019. Funding for the final section at Moncks Bay was rapidly brought forward following ‘shovel-ready’ funding after the COVID-19 pandemic, and design and consenting work began in 2020.

On a tight timeline, Boffa Miskell completed comprehensive terrestrial and marine ecological surveys used to inform ecological impact assessments for resource consent applications.

Ecological values along this final section of the Pathway prompted several adjustments to the project design and construction staging, including timing of works to prevent disturbance of kororā while breeding, and preconstruction surveys to ensure no kororā would be harmed during construction works. The incorporation of nesting boxes under the cantilevered pathway to provide safe places for kororā to nest and rear their young was an important addition.

Boffa Miskell assisted CCC to obtain a Wildlife Act Authority from the Department of Conservation. Coastal reclamation was minimised, including redesigning a section of the Pathway with an anchor block wall (rather than wider revetment) to avoid an important area of mudflat with karepō and tuaki / cockles.

Non-notified consents for both the east and west sections were granted. During construction, Boffa Miskell provided regular monitoring to ensure that impacts on penguins were avoided.

Highlights of this work included night-time trail camera footage of penguin pairs, surveys with Mena the dog and her handler, and following the completion of work, the successful return to the site (and breeding) by several pairs of penguins.

The Pathway has been gifted the name Te Ara Ihutai by Te Ngāi Tūāhuriri Upoko Te Maire Tau.