Crowds turned out to celebrate the dawn blessing and opening of Whangarei’s newest bridge Kotuitui Whitinga and the Hatea Loop – Huarahi o te Whai, on Saturday 13 September.
29/09/2014 10:43 a.m.
Before dawn the uprights of Kotuitui Whitinga glowed like tall gas jets – purple and pink, and Te Matau a Pohe glowed blue in the distance. The rain stayed away before dawn, while the moon and stars and a spectacular lightning show with rumbling thunder on the eastern horizon added to the occasion.
Tohunga led a crowd of about 100 people from the Waka and Wave sculpture at the end of Hihiaua Peninsula over the bridge and along the various branches of the walkway back to the peninsula where speeches were held.
At 9am people started to arrive for the 9.30am ribbon cutting, as did the rain. Following speeches by Tohunga Taipari Munro, Mayor Sheryl Mai, Councillor Cherry Hermon and WDC Group Manager District Living Paul Dell, Mayor Sheryl Mai cut the ribbon and a crowd of about 1000 flowed over the bridge, pausing as it opened to let a boat through and then closed again.
Throughout the day people kept coming over the bridge, on foot, on bicycles, scooters, in wheel chairs, and a few tots on plastic tricycles, all ages, all abilities, diverse cultures, many people leading well behaved dogs. People on paddle boards, kayaks and a man in a classic clinker dinghy paddled backwards and forwards under the bridge adding a maritime flavour to the scene.
Over the bridge, the newest part of the walkway snaked along the riverside past spic and span industrial buildings and lots. Just before Te Matau a Pohe a grove of steel uprights left over from its construction created a majestic space, and huge concrete blocks created a tidy separation between carpark and the path. Along the way Tutukaka marina’s recycled jetties provided rustic seats with an industrial tone.
People paused to explore these and to read about the history of the locations on Heritage Panels, and the colourful signs that encouraged everyone to use the space and to treasure it.
To view photos from the opening of Kotuitui Whitinga and Hatea Loop - Huarahi o te Whai visit the following album on our Facebook page:
Photos on Facebook - Opening of Kotuitui Whitinga and Hatea Loop