Taipa Bridge Opening

Taipa Bridge Opening

Taipa Bridge Opening

The Far North is celebrating the opening of a new two-lane bridge at Taipa.

Labeled the ‘smartest bridge in New Zealand’, the new wifi-enabled, two-lane with street lights positioned at both ends of the road adjacent to the bridge also come with a hub giving the community free access to wifi.

This weekend marked the official handover of the bridge to the community.

Hundreds of people from the local community joined local hapū, business and community representatives and its construction partners at the event, which started with a dawn blessing and the unveiling of the carved wood inserts on the waka end panels adorning both ends of the bridge.

The pou whenua and a plaque at the relocated war memorial were also unveiled.

The new $19m bridge is 107 metres long, with two lanes of traffic and a 2.5 metre walking and cycling shared path. Its most striking feature is the waka tauihu (prow) and taurapa (stern) end panels of a seafaring waka adorning each end of the bridge structure. It acknowledges Taipā as one of the first landing places in New Zealand of the Polynesian explorer Kupe.

The waka hourua (a traditional double hulled sailing canoe) design and the pou whenua were the result of extensive collaboration between the Transport Agency and the local hapu representatives of Ngati Kahu.  The close relationship with Ngati Kahu saw the relocation of the old monument from the shop carpark to a more prominent and deserving location. The monument commemorates local fallen soldiers that have died in the line of duty.

Less than an hour before opening ceremonies commenced, locals were already doing backflips into the river below.

Ginger Rogers

Ginger Rogers

Few cats have ever had a fan base to match Ginger Rogers,’ and now an entire community is mourning her death.

“Ginge was not just an ordinary cat — she was world famous in Mangonui,” Mary Ralph said.

“When she discovered Mangonui she landed on her feet, and spent many lives on the street. She was officially adopted by the whole town, and the business people there all looked after her.

“Without a doubt, she was a special character. Her antics would fill a book. The local school students wrote about her, a couple from Scotland visited her and left a ‘cat fund’ for her care. Everyone had a story, and she made everyone feel special. It must have been a full-time job acknowledging all the love and care that was lavished on her.

“Where did she sleep, what was her favourite eatery, who loved her most? She returned the favours with mice and her regal presence.”

Even Trip Advisor had featured her in its promotion of Mangonui.

“It will be hard to imagine Mangonui without such an iconic cat, but plans are in hand to create a memorial in her memory,” Mary added.

“Her life was celebrated at a wake on April 3, where her ashes were scattered on the grass by the boardwalk. She is sadly missed.”