After campaigning for more than 20 years, residents of Mourea and Okere can now enjoy a safer main road through their communities, with the reduction of speed limits.

There's been a number of serious crashes on the roads around the rural Bay of Plenty towns and residents had had enough.

"Actually I can remember when I was a kid, about 9 years old, a horrific crash on this very corner," Phill Thomass, chairman of the Rotorua Lakes Community Board, said standing on the side of State Highway 33.

"A tanker rolled over. I remember it because there was a small child trapped in the truck for hours on end.


"Ever since I've become involved in community issues, going back nearly 20 years now, it's always been the desire of this community to see the speed limit reduced on this road and see more safety for pedestrians."

Many local residents have been involved over the years including Jim Stanton.

"During the course of that community consultation, it was revealed by our communities in Mourea and Okere Falls that speed reduction was a primary concern of those communities, he said.

The original 70km/h limit through Okere and Mourea has been lowered to 60km/h, and the distance of that limit has been extended.

In addition, some 100km/h limits have been reduced to 80km/h, including Rotokawa Rd, a busy road just near Rotorua Airport.

Local iwi played a major role in campaigning for the speed reductions.

"We can celebrate this success, because originally Safe Roads (NZTA) didn't have speed on their books," Roland Kingi, a representative of Ngāti Pikiao, said.

"We tried many times, when we started in 2016, to try and get it on the table so we can discuss it and move it on."

"We had many meetings with NZTA to help lower the speed, lot of korero went on," Tania Turner, administrator of Te Pou O Taranui said.

"A lot of korero went on and we actually formed quite a good relationship with NZTA."

NZTA said that changes to speed limits can take a while due to the complex legal process required.


But there could be further changes coming.

"We're looking to review some of the urban speed limits on State Highway 5 and State Highway 30," Steve Mutton, spokesman for NZTA, said.

"Between 2009 and 2018, there was 629 crashes on a bit of road between just south of the Hemo Rd roundabout, and along State Highway 30 to south of Rotorua Airport.

"In that corridor, six people were killed and 26 were seriously injured, so it's really important that we do look at these as well."

Mourea residents aren't convinced that the process should have taken as long as it did.

"It is one of the longest. We've had several [processes]," Stanton said.


"I guess it's the persistence and perseverance of the community in trying to get a lot of these things implemented, has borne fruit, which is great."

"We've had many casualties, fatals, along our road," Turner said.

"Some of our children being hit by vehicles. We still have a long way to go, now that our speed's been reduced. Now we have to teach the culture of the driver.

"Sometimes the road is to blame, most times it's not."

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