South Auckland communities are celebrating the opening of Ngā Hau Māngere today, the new walking and cycling connection across the Manukau Harbour.
The new bridge, built by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, replaces the Old Māngere Bridge connecting Māngere Bridge and Onehunga which was closed for safety reasons in 2018. It was officially opened by Auckland Mayor Phil Goff and Minister of Transport Michael Wood with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday (27 August).
The old bridge had been standing since 1915 and was the main route for people on foot and bikes to cross the harbour in this location.
“The new bridge is architecturally designed and will not only provide a way for people to cross the harbour on foot or by bike but will also become a popular destination in itself. As well as a transport corridor, the new bridge will be a community space for whānau and friends to gather, sit and even enjoy a spot of fishing,” said Mark Kinvig, Waka Kotahi National Manager Infrastructure Delivery.
“The design of the bridge is a collaboration between Waka Kotahi, mana whenua and locals who worked together on a design that sees and 8-metre wide deck with two fishing bays extending out to 12-metres, with bench seating for people to sit and enjoy the harbour views.
“Waka, canoes and small watercrafts travelling into the Upper Māngere Inlet will have more space to travel underneath the bridge with a greater clearance during both low and high tide as well as more space between the bridge piers to navigate.
“Through partnership with mana whenua, design features such as puhoro fascia panels spanning the length of the bridge, balustrade colours which reflect the colours of the kahawai fish and rain gardens on each abutment tell the cultural story of the bridge. In a few months’ time, iwi artworks will be installed on both sides of the bridge.
“The partnership between Waka Kotahi and mana whenua has spanned nearly a decade and it’s great to be here today to celebrate the social and environmental benefits for future generations who will enjoy Ngā Hau Māngere. We’d like to acknowledge the collaboration on this project to achieve great outcomes for the people and for the environment,” said a representative of Te Waiohua.
“Waka Kotahi has worked with Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga to keep the history of the old bridge in the area by featuring some of the material from Old Mangere Bridge in a heritage garden on the northern side of Ngā Hau Māngere.”
The bridge will be part of a growing network of cycling and walking routes in Auckland. It connects with the southwestern shared path running alongside SH20 on the isthmus and then onto the northwestern cycleway for people travelling between the city centre and west Auckland, as well as the shared path along the northern edge of the Upper Māngere Inlet adjacent to a large industrial hub as well as the growing number of shared paths and cycleways south, connecting the airport with the communities along the way. The strategic location of the bridge means it will improve the journey of people travelling to work, places of education or those who are exploring their neighbourhood.
Ngā Hau Māngere was opened by the Hon Michael Wood Minister of Transport, Kaumatua David Wilson Takaanini of Te Ākitai Waiohua, Auckland Mayor Phil Goff and Councillor Alf Filipaina. Locals and visitors from further afield celebrated with an afternoon of walking, cycling, scootering and fishing on the new community space.
Note for editors:
Known during construction as the Old Māngere Bridge Replacement, the bridge has been gifted the name Ngā Hau Māngere by mana whenua to reflect the cultural history and landscape in which it sits. In translation it means the 'gentle lazy winds'.
The very first Old Māngere Bridge was built in 1875 and made of timber but shipworm soon led to the bridge becoming unsafe, and it was closed in 1914. In 1915, the second Old Māngere Bridge officially opened. It was made out of reinforced concrete and is believed to be the oldest bridge of this type crossing a New Zealand Harbour.
Old Māngere Bridge closed in 2018 due to safety concerns and was deconstructed from the harbour as part of this project.
Cutting the ribbon on the new bridge, left to right: Councillor Alf Filipaina, Auckland Mayor Phil Goff, Hon Michael Wood Minister of Transport, Waka Kotahi Board members Victoria Carter and Patrick Reynolds and Kaumatua David Wilson Takaanini of Te Ākitai Waiohua.