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Te Matau a Pohe Bridge - New Zealand

Text by Knight Architects:

KNIGHT ARCHITECTS’ Landmark New Zealand Bridge opens for business
The spectacular NZ$32m Lower Hatea Crossing was officially opened on 27 July 2013 by Whangarei MP Phil Heatley, tribal elders and local dignitaries and featured a traditional powhiri (Maori welcoming ceremony) and celebratory floatilla of boats.

© Patrick Reynolds

Designed by specialist bridge design consultancy Knight Architects following a competitive tender in 2011, the 265m tidal river estuary crossing is a key component in the highway network, designed to reduce congestion in the city centre and improve access to Whangarei Heads and the airport. The opening bridge provides a permanent minimum headroom for river users and a 25m wide lifting section to allow vessels taller than 7.5m to transit the bridge.

The opening mechanism is based on a traditional rolling bascule bridge type, with the structural steel deck supports shaped to provide a distinctive elevation which speaks both of its efficient rolling action and also its cultural context - the curved ‘J’ shape is an interpretation of the fish hook motif that is widely used in Maori culture. The form is designed to be recognisable by day and night, to provide a positive gateway to the town basin area and a structure that speaks strongly of the local character and culture of Whangarei.

Te Matau a Pohe Bridge -
New Zealand


Picture Gallery

© Knight Architects

Martin Knight comments: “The concept design for the moveable bridge combined the functional and efficient form of a rolling bascule with a distinctive architectural shape. Function and form, engineering and architecture, are perfectly integrated and completely indivisible in this design. The concept was informed by the appearance of Maori ceremonial fishing hooks and I am delighted the bridge has been named Te Matau a Pohe. As bridge architects we always seek to reinforce a sense of place and I am proud that we have achieved something of lasting quality in Whangarei.”

Whangarei District Council Group Manager Infrastructure and Services Simon Weston comments: “This project is one of the most exciting civil engineering projects in Whangarei. The bascule bridge is the most spectacular man-made feature of the District, if not the Region, and is also a major piece of an integrated road network plan first envisaged in the 1990s. The Lower Hatea River Crossing is a major piece of that big picture.”

Key facts & figures:

  • 265m long and 17m wide
  • Anticipated to carry up to 8,000 vehicles per day
  • Directly links Town Basin and William Fraser Memorial Park (creating faster connection to Whangarei airport)
  • Only rolling bascule bridge in New Zealand
  • Officially named Te Matau a Pohe – translated as 'The fishhook of Pohe‘, after the Maori chief who welcomed the first English settlers to Whangarei

zurück zu 'Aktuelle Projekte'

Whangarei District Council

Knight Architects

McConnell Dowell / Transfield

Peters & Cheung (Structural Engineer)
Eadon Consulting (Mechanical, Hydraulic and Electrical Engineer)
Northern Civil (Road Engineer)
Speirs & Major (Lighting Design)