Te Matau a Pohe bridge

Whangārei's iconic harbour bridge, Te Matau a Pohe was officially opened on Saturday 27 July 2013.

This $32 million structure is the largest and most expensive Whangarei District Council civil engineering project in our District.

Inspired by the design of Māori fish hooks crafted of bone, the sleek, pale structure provides a grand entrance and spectacular exit for those arriving at and departing the Basin.

Te Matau a Pohe - raising the bridge

Te Matau a Pohe is opened on a scheduled basis at 12 noon each day. Skippers are encouraged to make use of this time if tide conditions are suitable. 

Raising the bridge

Skippers can contact Bridge Control to request the bridge to be raised.  There is no charge for this service.

Boats waiting for the bridge to be raised can tie up to pontoons on either side of the bridge.

Vessels over 6.5m in height

Vessels over 6.5m in height (above water level) need to phone or radio a request to see if the bridge needs to be lifted. Skippers will be asked for their mast height.

Vessels 4m to 6.5m in height

Vessels under 6.5m height (above water level): contact bridge control to see if the bridge needs to lift. Skippers will be asked for their mast height. 

Bridge not raised during peak road traffic

The bridge will not be raised:

  • during peak road traffic periods from Monday to Friday between
    • 7:00am to 9:00am
    • 4:00pm to 6:00pm
  • when wind speeds exceed 34 knots (gale force wind conditions).

Channel access

Channel width between wooden marker piles


Channel depth between wooden marker piles

1.0m below Chart Datum

Vertical clearance above MHWS level when bridge is closed

7.5m to underside of bridge

Seasonal operation

The bridge has two operating schedules, one for summer and one for winter. 

Summer schedule

The summer schedule begins when daylight saving begins in September and finishes when daylight saving ends in April. 

In 2023, summer hours will end on 2 April 2023. They will start again on 24 September 2023 and will end 7 April 2024. 

In 2024, summer hours start on 29 September 2024 and will end 6 April 2025. 

Summer operating hours

  • Monday - Friday:  9:00am to 4:00pm and 6:00pm to 7:00pm
  • Saturday - Sunday:  7:00am to 7:00pm

Winter schedule

The winter schedule begins when daylight saving ends in April and finishes when daylight saving starts in September.

In 2023, winter hours will start on 2 April 2023 and end on 23 September 2023.

In 2024, winter hours start on 7 April 2024 and will end 29 September 2024. 

Winter operating hours

  • Monday - Friday:  9:00am to 4:00pm
  • Saturday - Sunday:  8:00am to 5:00pm

Te Matau a Pohe lifting time changes

The lifting times at Te Matau a Pohe will be changing to fit better with changes to the peak road traffic time.  

From 1 March the bridge will be closed to boats for a bit longer at peak times to allow faster clearing of heavier road traffic.

Response time

During normal operating hours our target response time is 5 minutes for the bridge to be raised from the time a request is received by bridge control. 

Outside of normal operating hours, the service is on-call and we have a target response time of 30 minutes from the time a request is received.

If you need the bridge to be raised outside of normal operating hours we encourage you to ring ahead to book a time.

For bookings our target response time is within 5 minutes of the agreed time (subject to the boat arriving on time). 

Waiting vessels can tie to the Marina Pontoons at each side of the bridge. To contact bridge control to open the bridge and for instructions. Wait for permission from bridge control on VHF before proceeding.

Watch electronic notice board on face of bridge at all times for messages and instructions. 

Guidance for visiting Northland's waters and marinas (nrc.govt.nz)

Coloured lighting requests

Both Te Matau a Pohe and Kotuitui Whitinga can be lit up in beautiful colours at night time. This is a free service for organisations wanting to commemorate special events.

  • Available to organisations only – not individuals or families.
  • Events with regional, national or international significance will be given priority.
  • Lighting changes must last at least two weeks due to installation time.
  • Some colours, such as red and green, are not allowed for navigation safety.
  • Due to Te Matau a Pohe bridge being painted a grey colour, not all colours can be created.
  • Kotuitui Whitinga has fewer colour restrictions.
  • It is not always possible for us to accept every light colouring request.

Request coloured lighting on bridges

10 year celebration

Celebrating 10 years

July 2023 marked 10 years since the opening of Te Matau a Pohe. As well as being a vital link between communities, the bridge has enabled dozens of attractions and activities around the popular Hātea Loop area which gets thousands of visitors every season. 

Te Matau a Pohe carries an average of around 11000 vehicles per day, well ahead of its forecast 8000. It lifts to allow boats to pass around 5 times per day, and made its 20,000th lift in 2023. 

10 year Anniversary booklet(PDF, 673KB)

Photo gallery