Kowhai Connection

The Kowhai Connection is an on-demand public transport service on trial in the Matakana / Warkworth area north of Auckland. Once proved and refined the model can be replicated in other rural communities across New Zealand.


Bevan Woodward

What they’re doing and why

The Warkworth / Matakana area had no public transport service, but research shows that traditional public transport services to a dispersed population struggle with low numbers and high costs.

By setting up a demand responsive service, the community is able to travel when they want to – with door-to-door services complementing a scheduled service that runs between Warkworth and Matakana via Snells Beach.

Vodafone and Argus Tracking have provided pro-bono support to this project.


Matakana / Warkworth

Compass Network


What we worked on together

Ākina supported Bevan, through his consultancy, BetterWorld during the development and operation of the service, and delivered the evaluation report at the end of the first year of operation.

Incubation stage

We have completed our project work with Kowhai Connection.

More information

We learnt a lot – and we’ve captured key information in a toolkit, thanks to funding from Auckland Transport and NZTA.

In particular, we found that:

  • Demand-responsive transportation can be an effective alternative to traditional models for providing public transportation solutions to dispersed populations.
  • It takes patience and strong communication to manage expectations in projects that involve stakeholders with diverse perspectives.
  • Creative design and a willingness to rethink established processes were significant to overcoming barriers and led to the development of a low cost / low risk pilot.

Who has the toolkit been designed for?
The Toolkit is a set of materials aimed at community groups who are exploring Demand-Responsive Transportation (DRT) as a transportation solution for small towns or rural areas.

The aim is to complement other resources that already exist to aid community groups exploring transportation options.

Within the toolkit, you’ll find:

1. Kowhai Connection Case Study
2. DRT Service Design Toolkit
3. Business Case Template