Te Utanganui is a unique multi modal distribution hub in the lower North Island of New Zealand, consisting of rail, road, air, and sea connections.

Complementing the Golden Triangle (Auckland-Hamilton-Tauranga) and southern Christchurch node, Te Utanganui acts as the third node in New Zealand’s national transport and freight network in the heart of the country.

Why Here?

In the heart of the lower North Island, Manawatū is experiencing unprecedented levels of growth fuelled by significant public and private investment with more than $8 billion of transport and infrastructure investment planned and under way in the next 10 years.

We have the key building blocks in place – home to major distribution centres including Toyota NZ, Foodstuffs and Primary Connect (Countdown); access to domestic and international markets through one of only three national airports that can move freight 24/7; proximity and connectivity to main centres across the lower North Island by both rail and road; and designated space for large scale warehousing sites with room to grow.

Te Utanganui is taking development in Manawatū to the next level, building on initiatives already planned for the area like KiwiRail’s Regional Freight Hub and major roading projects including Te Ahu a Turanga: Manawatū Tararua highway and Ōtaki to north of Levin expressway.

At a Glance

Te Utanganui is a unique multi modal distribution hub being developed in Manawatū, spanning across Palmy and into the wider district. It encompasses several infrastructure projects which, when combined, will create the primary distribution and transport hub for central New Zealand, supporting the transport and logistics centres of South Auckland, Waikato and Canterbury.

Well served by international ports with ambitious expansion and investment plans, Manawatū is home to the only place in New Zealand where road, rail and air transport options are immediately adjacent to each other, and Te Utanganui is the epicentre of this connectivity, with unrivalled road, rail and air freight options clustered together.

Te Utanganui, as a project, encompasses several infrastructure projects in Manawatū, that when combined, create the primary distribution and transport hub project for central New Zealand. Projects directly planned or aligned with Te Utanganui include:

    • KiwiRail’s Regional Freight Hub
    • Te Ahu a Tūranga: Manawatū-Tararua Highway
    • Ōtaki to North of Levin (O2NL) Expressway
    • North East Industrial Zone (NEIZ)
    • Ruapehu Aeropark
    • Kawakawa Industrial Precinct, Feilding
    • Palmerston North Airport
    • Palmerston North Integrated Transport Initiative – Regional Freight Ring Road
    • Port partners Napier Port and CentrePort

In addition to the project, Te Utanganui’s strategy encompasses the broader transport and distribution system across central New Zealand including:

    • Port developments and investments at the major international ports
    • Secondary developments including Marton Rail Hub, Whanganui port, Smart Road in Taranaki, Oringi in Tararua, Whakatū inland port in Hastings and Horowhenua Business Park

The region is the key central servicing point for central New Zealand, including the Taranaki, Manawatū-Whanganui, Hawke’s Bay, Wairarapa and Wellington regions, and is home to one of only three key nodes on the national air freight network, operating 24/7.

Once fully completed, the hub will provide economic, social and environmental benefits for the region and the country. It will help to reduce emissions through more efficient freight movement and provide more efficient delivery of goods in New Zealand.

It is an ambitious, multi-year project which maximises the value of infrastructure investments already committed across the North Island, both private and public, and advocates for inward private investment, government and local government support, and regional and iwi collaboration.

Accelerating New Zealand’s economic growth

Te Utanganui is attracting investment from national companies wanting to scale-up and international companies wanting to enter the New Zealand market, leading to more job opportunities and greater export capabilities.

Local tertiary providers Massey University and UCOL provide a direct skills pipeline for businesses at Te Utanganui.

Experts such as AgResearch, Riddet Institute and food science and innovation hub FoodHQ are also based locally, along with more than 3,900 scientists and researchers, working with primary producers to innovate, grow and export.

Enabling business to co-locate with similar or complementary businesses/services in a purpose-built hub with links to domestic and international markets will boost productivity.

Attracting and retaining skills and investment in Manawatū future-proofs the region for future population and economic growth.

Te Utanganui will give central New Zealand a more efficient and resilient supply chain – leading to wider productivity benefits across the region.

The Strategy


Te Utanganui’s Strategy was developed in 2020, and is endorsed by councils and economic development agencies, supported by iwi, and backed by central government.

Te Utanganui encompasses several infrastructure projects in Manawatū, that when combined, create the primary distribution and transport hub project for central New Zealand.

With this strategy, Palmerston North, and the wider Manawatū region, will have the foundation to build a network that will provide positive flow-on effects for the whole community, and New Zealand, for generations to come.

With freight volumes in New Zealand expected to increase significantly in the coming decades due to population growth and increasing competition, it is essential the region has an enduring and future-proofed transport network to support this growth, and an integral part of this has been the establishment of a robust and strategic plan to manage the region’s transport network and support it to thrive.

Te Utanganui’s Strategy encapsulates road, rail and air as part of the national freight and supply chain strategy. Te Utanganui’s project team oversees four key workstreams of Advocacy, Investment, Comms and Master Planning including several large-scale roading projects that range from ‘business case stage’ through to ‘currently under construction.’ In addition to the project, Te Utanganui’s strategy encompasses the broader transport and distribution system across central New Zealand.

The Name

The hubs name of Te Utanganui was gifted to the project in 2021 by Rangitāne o Manawatū.

The name refers to the concept of an inland port, of transient goods arriving by sea, sky and land, and then out again – ki tai.

Ki uta refers to an inland location and nui describes the hub’s vastness and importance. The name drew inspiration and appreciation from the local geography, of its creeks and streams that carve pathways from the mountains to the sea representing the significant role Te Utanganui has in the transport of goods throughout New Zealand and the world.

Ki uta ki tai – mountains to sea. The mana of this name and partnership with Rangitāne o Manawatū is foundational to Te Utanganui.

Keen to find out more or get involved?

Get in touch with the project team today:

The project team for Te Utanganui is focused on attracting inward private investment, ensuring ongoing government backing, and enhancing inter-regional and iwi collaboration.

Strategy & Investment:

Jerry Shearman
[email protected]

Programme Management Officer:

Robbie Woods
[email protected]

Media & Communications:

Janet Reynolds
[email protected]  021 066 1591

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