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This project is one of a dozen featured as part of our Power Up 2.0 Tour of Aotearoa campaign. We're sharing stories from towns and cities across New Zealand that are trialling ways to make their streets safer and more liveable - especially for young kids. These stories are written for kids and, in some cases, the content is created by kids. Click here to learn more about Power Up 2.0 and see the projects featured.

Hetana Street


The Matamata Innovating Streets project aimed to make Hetana Street a safe and cool connection to the town centre so that locals and visitors can both stop in, hang out and have a look around the town centre safely using from artworks to sidewalk buildouts.

Hey kids!

Keep on reading to learn about the project and see cool photos from the street. At the end of the story look for 'things to think about' - questions you could discuss with friends and family.

Hetana Street

Project goal

Make Hetana Street in Matamata a safe, family friendly place where you can bike with your family and hang out without fear of cars.

Hetana Street in Matamata is a super busy street that lets cars come into town, and because of this it’s not a very safe street for kids and adults to walk or ride their bikes, or for them to hang out and play some games nearby. The team behind the Innovating Streets project in Matamata is working hard to change this and make Hetana Street a safe place for families, visitors, walkers and bike riders.

What did the project do?

The Innovating Streets team made Hetana Street a one-way road so that cars can only drive along the road in one direction. They lowered the speed to 30km and hour, making it safer for people to see when it’s safe to cross. They’ve also added in three pedestrian crossings and extended out the footpaths, making it safer for you to share the footpath with other people walking when you play or ride your bike on it. 

You might spy some beautiful artwork on the street - these have been designed by artist Raukawa Manning of the Māori tribe Ngati Hinerangi as a "poutama" design, which is based around a whakataukī (Māori proverb), and the colours used are specifically chosen because of another whakataukī. You can learn all about this in the video at the top from Hinerangi Vaimoso also of Ngati Hinerangi!


The project started at the beginning of May and will stay there for three months. With the road layout being changed hopefully the street will become a more safe place for families to come down to the town centre through. With the bright street artworks and planter boxes and seats. it'll be a fun place for you and your family to hang out and have lunch at, and maybe even go on a group bike or scooter ride on.

Things to think about...

  1. Why do you think making Hetana Street one way has helped to make it safer to cross the road?
  2. What did the designers use the red, white and black colours to represent in the design and in the Matamata community?
  3. What was the name of the artist who designed the cool artwork on Hetana Street?
  4. Do you think you should still look both ways and listen hard before you cross Hetana Street?