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Regional | Te Papakura o Taranaki

‘New era of co-governance’: New bridge opens up over Manganui Gorge

Part of the Taranaki Crossing Project, a new 100-metre-long suspension bridge has formally opened 49.5 metres over the Manganui Gorge, after being blessed by Ngāti Ruanui, who also contributed artwork to it.

Located within Te Papakura o Taranaki, the project was spearheaded by Ngā Iwi o Taranaki, DoC, and Kānoa, with more than 100 guests attending today’s special ceremony after construction started late last year.

Te Runanga o Ngāti Ruanui Trust deputy tumu W’akaae Ngapari Nui said it marked a new era of co-governance for the maunga.

“We have worked alongside DoC from design to construction, including the gifting of taonga. That makes this bridge a destination in itself.

“The bridge’s stunning visual appearance fits well into the mountain landscape and is a unique part of the cultural interface Ngāti Ruanui brought to this project.

“The bridge will become a key tourist attraction, along with the experience Ngāti Ruanui has crafted, including our world-renowned Mountain House restaurant and accommodation complex,” he said.

It is designed to have a 100-year life span, it is expected to withstand the sub-alpine Manganui Gorge’s winds, weather conditions and an avalanche.

DoC’s Hauraki-Waikato-Taranaki regional director Tinaka Mearns called the new bridge a “challenging build” in an at-times hostile environment.

“We knew from the outset this would be an impressive structure once finished, and so we’re delighted an eye-catching and important part of the Taranaki Crossing visitor experience is completed.”

Kānoa principal regional advisor Bridget Sullivan is looking forward to the economic boost the new build will provide.

“Taranaki’s regional economic development strategy, Tapuae Roa, identified the Taranaki Crossing as a priority project. This will attract more visitors, boost local businesses and create jobs and other opportunities.

“The original $13.4 million grant from the Provincial Growth Fund has resulted in a lot of other funders coming on board to support the entire Taranaki Crossing project.

“The grant includes funding for this stunning new bridge, which has cost about $1.2 million.”

The bridge will significantly improve access through this part of the mountain environment and improve visitor safety by replacing the existing track which descends through the bottom of the gorge. The existing track is prone to washouts and closure due to avalanche risk.