Ngā Hau Māngere – new crossing opens2 min readReading Time: 2 minutes
Onehunga and Māngere Bridge are once again connected for walking and cycling, with the opening of the new bridge in August by the Minister of Transport, Michael Wood. After years of being unimaginatively known as the New Old Māngere Bridge, it has now been officially named by mana whenua – Ngā Hau Māngere (Gentle Lazy Winds) – to reflect the cultural history and landscape around it.
The minister praised the way the new bridge was designed to be a public space rather than a thoroughfare. “It’s not just a way to get from A to B,” he said. Manukau Councillor, Alf Filipaina, paid tribute to the local people and groups that fought to ensure there was an appropriate replacement to the old bridge when it was deemed unsafe many years ago.
After the traditional ribbon cutting, there was a special Waka Ama race that finished under the bridge. There was even a gate crasher, in the form of one of the local seals, popping up to see what all the fuss was about!
However, the main event of the day was the chance to finally get on the bridge, and locals turned out in their hundreds to enjoy the new crossing. There were even a few anglers who took the opportunity to throw a line into the harbour for the first time in four years.
Whereas the old crossing was a converted road bridge, Ngā Hau Māngere is purpose-built for pedestrians, fishing and cycling. There’s plenty of benches where you can just sit and enjoy the view, with fishing bays and rod holders built into the barriers.
The history of the old bridge and its connection to the community, water and mana whenua has been preserved. Some of the plinths that supported the bridge’s old hand rails, and one of the beams in the bridge structure have been used in the landscaping around the abutments of the new bridge. In partnership with mana whenua, the artwork also helps share the story of the Ōtāhuhu portage, an important historic passage for the waka that travelled this area. There’s information boards, outlining the history of the bridges as well as gardens and decking at both ends. The boat ramp remains and the turning space for vehicle and their boats is restored and improved.
Nga Hau Mangere, the new boat ramp and Māngere Mountain (photo supplied)