Te Waihorotiu train station

PHOTO: The entrance to Te Waihorotiu train station which is set to be completed in 2025. Photo: RNZ / Felix Walton

The Auckland Council is anticipating a revitalization of the city center with the introduction of a new train station near the Sky Tower. This new station, known as Te Waihorotiu, is one of two stations slated for completion in 2025, marking a significant milestone in the City Rail Link project, which has spanned nearly a decade.

Jenny Larking, the head of city center programs at Auckland Council, has characterized Te Waihorotiu as the “front door” to the city. With construction nearing its conclusion, the focus now shifts towards creating an exceptional experience for commuters, positioning the station as a gateway to the city.

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Exiting Te Waihorotiu will lead passengers directly onto Victoria Street West, where plans are in place to develop the area into a bustling transport hub, seamlessly connecting with buses. Larking expressed excitement about Auckland Transport’s work on Wellesley Street, which will facilitate a smooth transition between bus and train infrastructure. Underground, a massive passenger platform has been prepared to serve a considerable influx of commuters.

Shaun Sutton, the community manager for Te Waihorotiu, noted that it is expected to become New Zealand’s busiest station, accommodating up to 54,000 passengers per hour, driven by the ongoing population growth. He affirmed that the project is progressing well and is scheduled for completion in November 2025, a mere couple of years away. At its peak, up to 600 workers were simultaneously engaged in constructing the station.

Auckland Council head of city centre programmes Jenny Larking

Jenny Larking describes Te Waihorotiu as a “front door” to the city. Photo: RNZ / Felix Walton

The station’s name, Te Waihorotiu, carries cultural and historical significance, as it represents the river that once flowed beneath Queen Street, providing sustenance to the early inhabitants of the area. Although the river is now hidden beneath the roadways, its legacy is honored by this station’s name. Additionally, the seven skylights adorning the ceiling are symbolic representations of Matariki.

Larking shared that Auckland Council is prepared for a surge of activity once the station is operational, working in tandem with WaterCare to enhance infrastructure to support increased urbanization around the station. Sutton noted that numerous projects are already underway, with developments such as the Symphony Centre above the station being just one of many.

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Recent events in the city center have already contributed to a resurgence in pedestrian activity, according to Larking. She believes that with the opening of the station, the city will undergo a remarkable transformation, ushering in a new era.