Palmerston North has moved into a new era of zero-energy lighting, with thousands of luminous spheres lighting up paths along the Manawatū River.

The spheres from the UK absorb UV light and stay lit for up to 10 hours.

Palmerston North City Council revealed the two stretches of path on Tuesday night.
The Star Path is a 100m length of footpath leading up to the new He Ara Kotahi bridge and pathway.

The path is on the Dittmer Drive entry to He Ara Kotahi which has been designed with lighting that will not affect residents' view of the night sky.

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The other is a koru pattern designed by Rangitāne, which is under construction on a section of the river bank between Albert St and Fitzherbert Bridge.

Once complete it will stretch 500m and cover a total area of 2.2ha.

This area of pathway is timed for 2021 completion.

The lighting from the spheres will give visitors to Te Motu ō Poutoa a view of the pathway from across the river.

PNCC chief infrastructure officer Tom Williams says these innovative solutions to lighting will be impressive.

"We're excited to show our residents and visitors that lighting doesn't have to be an after-thought. These paths show lighting can be innovative, environmentally friendly and tell stories of the history of our region.

"I also have a strong suspicion these paths will become an iconic shot of Palmy as everyone realises they make the perfect backdrop for a new profile picture."

The council also revealed on Tuesday night what the lighting on He Ara Kotahi Bridge will look like before it opens mid-year.

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The He Ara Kotahi Bridge with its architecturally-designed fins and handrails that will be lit from beneath
The He Ara Kotahi Bridge with its architecturally-designed fins and handrails that will be lit from beneath

An architectural element of the bridge nicknamed "the fins" are fully lit, providing lighting along the bridge and also underneath, creating an illusion of it floating above the river. The handrails will also be illuminated.

A small sample of lighting for the Fitzherbert Bridge has also been revealed with just under $500,000 set aside to light the bridge.

The council says it will provide a welcoming entry to the city and the city's events can be held along this stretch of riverbank.

The lighting will also include safety features for pedestrians travelling between the two bridges.

Other countries use these spheres as an environmental solution to lighting.