Road Tunnels in Taranaki New Zealand

Whangamomona Tunnel

Above photo is the Whangamomona Tunnel.

Taranaki has about twenty-two tunnels dotted mostly on the back country roads, most of them have been chiseled out by pick and shovel through hills.

Some of these tunnels have been formed through papa clay ( I called in papa rock) it is very, hard rock until you get a lot of rain, then it becomes soft and crumbles.

  • Moki Tunnel – on SH 43 between Whangamomona and Taumarunui, approx 180 m long. is a single lane, uses wooden shoring, it is on the western end of the Tangarakau Gorge.

The Moki tunnel was the only one constructed of five tunnels that were originally suggested along the route to Stratford by surveyor Joshua Morgan in the early 1890’s prior to his death in the Tangarakau gorge in 1893.

The tunnel was constructed in 1935-1936 by the public works Department based in Stratford at the time.

It was originally built to about 5 meters high, to allow modern stock trucks and trailers to pass through, it was lowered two meters in 1985 by Colin Boyd of Inglewood Metal Supplier.

Uriti TunnelUruti Tunnel on Uruti Road, connecting the Pehu Valley with SH 3, which is not very far away from Okoki were I Live, it is the longest (at about 200 m) and least stable tunnel in Taranaki.

It took seven years to construct and was opened in 1923.

Signs at each end recommend not walking through it and stopping is prohibited.

It looks like a mine shaft with its inverted V-shaped top, has a wooden ceiling, and reinforcing planks along its walls.

The Uruti tunnel links the Uruti Valley with the main highway.

Uruti area is beautiful Country, in the 2003 film The Last Samurai was filmed in the Uruti Valley, with Mount Taranaki/Egmont standing in for Mount Fuji.

These are only a couple of road tunnels that I have photos of in Taranaki, will share more photos as I take them, it’s amazing the energy put into building these, real man- power, could you imagine doing that kind of work these days with no machinery, just bullocks and draught horses.

12 thoughts on “Road Tunnels in Taranaki New Zealand

  1. I’ve never seen a tunnel with a pointy “roof” before. But then, you are living upside down at your part of the world, so tunnels should be different 😉
    Joking aside. – The tunnel looks great and as it looks quite narrow and I bet it’s a little adventure to cross it with a modern car.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry, I didn’t get back to your comment, I like the bit about living upside down, I feel a bit like that at the moment.
      We do have some very nice scenery here, as there is in many countries, as you most likely found out in my A to Z challenge posts.
      Hope you are having a great weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry, I haven’t answered your comment sooner.
      I don’t know that tunnel, but I think it’s somewhere up north, I’m I right?
      Not in Taranaki.
      Thanks for leaving a comment.

      Like

  2. I walked through the Uruti tunnel many times when I was younger, usually following flocks of sheep or herds of cattle. Always an experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi! Nice to meet someone that knows actually what I’m talking about.
      These tunnels are unique, so much work put into making them, not the machinery that we have these days to tunnel through a hill.
      Happy days remembering the wonders and hard work that our ancestors did.

      Like

      • The family farm was in two blocks, one in the Uruti Valley, and the other at Pehu. Happy childhood memories. I have a vague memory of my grandmother talking about either my grandfather or great grandfather helping to dig the tunnel.

        Like

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