Journey through the stars

Published on 03 February 2020

Closeup of people's feet on the path, lit up at night with twinkling blue spheres.

Instagram worthy, eco-friendly and a first for Australasia. Palmy's star paths are changing the way the city is lighting up Manawatū and our beloved awa. 

The star paths are made with thousands of small stones that light up under the night sky. The special stones power-up in the daytime by absorbing UV light and then, once the sun sets, they radiate a soft glow under your feet.

You can see the sparkle yourself on the doorstep of the city's newest landmark, He Ara Kotahi bridge.

Over the next year, an additional 500m long pattern will be installed further up the riverbank between Albert Street and Ruahine Street. Designed by Rangitāne, the pattern symbolises the ferocity of the river water. Spanning 2.2 hectares it will be visible from Te Motu o Poutoa, a site of great significance to iwi and home to some of the best views of the city.

The lighting choice is very intentional and aligned with our Eco-City commitment. They're zero energy, innovative and won't cause any major problems if the river floods. There's also no light pollution, so people with homes near the river won't be disturbed and those standing on it can still get a spectacular view of the stars above.

The star paths form part of a wider lighting strategy to encourage more people to safely enjoy the river park during the evening. He Ara Kotahi has recently been lit with lights that tell a story about the bridge and the history of the location. Fitzherbert Bridge, which connects Massey University and Food HQ campuses to Tennent Drive and the CBD, is also getting new lighting in the next few years.

In each case, Council and Rangitāne are working together to ensure the lighting along the river tells stories of the past and inspires stories for the future as people venture out and make new memories together. 

If you've been down to the Albert St river entrance lately, you might be wondering what all those new paths under construction are. They're a zero-energy glow in the dark pattern representing water, created by Rangitāne. These paths will allow us, and you, to host events at this area in winter now, as well as being another great route for you to walk, ride or play with your pooch.