Newspaper Article 1966 – Titiokura down – but not yet out

Line-up for big event at Titiokura

Traffic flows over deviation:

Titiokura down – but not yet out

The notorious Titiokura Saddle – one of the greatest hazards on the Napier-Taupo highway – is “down”, but probably not yet “out”.

Shortly after 9.30 this morning the huge Titiokura deviation was opened to traffic for the first time.

It was the culmination of three years toil and hardship under conditions often atrocious.

There was some jubilation and a share of relief on the part of Ministry of Works staff and motorists alike this morning. But the last has not been heard of the Titiokura deviation.

Both ends have been sealed but 30 chains in the middle – through the top cut – are still far too wet for sealing.

It now seems that this section will not be sealed before next Spring at the earliest, although Ministry of Works engineers entertain faint hopes that an unseasonal dry spell might allow the work to be done before then.

The top cut has presented a drainage headache since work began about three years ago, and only this morning there were some blockages after a downpour.

In some places the sides of the cut are 80 feet high, and, this winter especially, there will be crossed fingers in the hope that the material remains stable.

Motorists should share the same hope, for the deviation has made a tremendous improvement to the Napier-Taupo journey.


This morning the old section was, as usual, in a shocking condition. Fog reduced visibility for motorists ploughing through slush and potholes on the twisting steep north-western side of the saddle. The elimination of this section has cut the Napier-to-Taupo traveling time for the average motorists by about 10 minutes. However, heavy traffic over the old route was always liable to hold up motorists for some time.

Heavy traffic will make the journey in about 30 minutes less time, largely because of the easier grades, which are no steeper than one in 11, compared with the old route’s grade of one in seven.


All traffic will benefit by the provision of a crawler lane for uphill vehicles.

No opening ceremony was planned this morning, but by the time the Hawke’s Bay Motor Co. Ltd.’s Wairakei-bound bus arrived about 9.30 a crowd had gathered.

The driver, Mr M. Doidge, was handed a scroll by Mr B. Broughton, Ministry of Work overseer at Titiokura since the work began. The scroll carried a cartoon – drawn by a Ministry of Works employee – depicting some of the hazards associated with the deviation.

Everyone sensed the significance of the occasion and passengers alighted from the bus to take photographs and be photographed.

Morning tea was served at the Ministry of Works huts.

A Ministry engineer, Mr J. B. Holland, said later that the old route would be retained in case of any trouble with the deviation.

“As you can see, the whole place is running with water,” he said.

Photo captions –

FOG BLANKETED the top cut in the Titiokura deviation, which was opened to traffic this morning. This first vehicle through was a Hawke’s Bay Motor Co. Ltd. bus, pictured at the head of the cavalcade of cars.

WITH THIS HANDSHAKE, the Titiokura deviation on the Napier-Taupo highway was opened to traffic for the first time this morning. The Hawke’s Bay Motor Co. Ltd. Bus driver is Mr M. Doidge. Shaking his hand is the Ministry of Works overseer on the Titiokura project, Mr B. Broughton. With him is Mr R. Brougham, Inspector of works.

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Napier-Taupo Road

Format of the original

Newspaper article

Date published

12 May 1966


  • R Brougham
  • B Broughton
  • M Doidge
  • J B Holland

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