Tangata whenua and residents of Mangaweka have come together to unveil Te Pou Herenga Tangata and officially open the new Mangaweka Bridge.
Rangitīkei District Council Mayor, Andy Watson and Deputy Mayor, Michael Ford, acknowledged and thanked the many groups, organisations and individuals involved in making the project a success. Particularly, the community on both sides of the river whose voices kicked the project into gear, he said.
The pou whenua, designed by Maihi Potaka on behalf of Ngāti Hauiti, symbolises the connection and strengthening of the Rangitīkei and Manawatū districts and marks the joining of the district’s people. Ngāti Hauiti representative Utiku Potaka, acknowledged this sentiment in his own whakaaro speaking on the connectedness to the land and to one another.
The old Mangaweka Bridge will have a future as a walking and cycleway and it maintains its historical significance as the only cantilever road bridge left in New Zealand.
The new bridge is now open for light traffic and upon the completion of the approach on the Manawatū side, the bridge will be open to all traffic. This is expected to happen in the next week, weather dependent, Council said in a statement.