Artwork on Perry Bridge
Construction of the Perry Bridge, the latest addition to the Te Awa River Ride, can be seen clearly from the road while driving SH1.
Behind the scenes, construction of a different kind has been under way, with students from schools either side of the river designing mosaics for the landmark structure.
Students from Ngaruawahia High School and Horotiu Primary School, guided by Ngaruawahia artist Tracy Huirama-Osborne, have spent several months developing artwork for the bridge approaches.
Both schools began by exploring the history and significance of the Waikato River, with the students observing the natural forms they wanted to include in their designs.
Ngaruawahia High School’s final design blended the drawings of a mixed age group of students that included the kowhaiwhai pattern from the school’s wharenui. Students at Horotiu school voted for their favourite design, with Reese Daniel-Hoani’s drawing of the river current and Harakeke (flax) the winner.
Tracy was delighted to be asked to work on the project and enjoyed engaging with the students.
“Student energy has contributed much to the work. I look forward to them seeing the mosaics in the real, part of the Te Awa River Ride — a real game-changer for the district.”
Ngaruawahia students created their mosaics, learning how to cut the tiles and the painstaking work of piecing them together.
Jennifer Palmer from Te Awa River Ride Charitable Trust said the project has been a true community collaboration and will add to the experience of using the bridge.
“The mosaics will take pride of place along the bridge approaches. They are a wonderful way for the students to demonstrate their connection to, and appreciation of, their awa.”
The full section between Ngaruawahia and Horotiu, including the new Perry Bridge opens soon. The 130m, $1.3 million pedestrian and cycle Perry Bridge will complete the Ngaruawahia to Horotiu section.
The Te Awa river walk and cycleway begins at Ngaruawahia and follows the river behind the Ngaruawahia Golf Course.
Brian Perry Charitable Trust general manager Jennifer Palmer said the path on the eastern side was nearing completion and following lifting of the bridge into place by a large crane an official opening for 7.5km section was likely in late October.
“We want the opening to be something special with prizes and celebrities. This is the most significant piece of infrastructure on the whole cycleway.”
The total cost of the stretch was $4.7 million of which $2.7 million came from the NZ Transport Agency.
The whole Te Awa shared pedestrian and cycleway will ultimately travel 70km from Ngaruawahia to Horohoro — 20km past Karapiro. Sections from Horotiu through Hamilton have been completed, along with the section from the Avantidrome to Cambridge and from Cambridge to Karapiro. The final section from the Hamilton Gardens to the Avantidrome is under consideration by Hamilton City and Waikato and Waipa District Councils.
“We are really close to the confirmation of a route. This will be a three-year project costing about $12 million and requiring a lot of fundraising. It should be completed 2020-21,” Ms Palmer said.
The Brian Perry Charitable Trust has provided operational, management and funding support. Other funders include Waikato District Council, NZ Community Trust, Lion Foundation, Trust Waikato, Wel Energy Trust, Perry Group, Trillian Trust and Grass Roots trust.
The bridge under construction.
Cutting tiles into strips for the mosaics.
Some of the mosaics that will decorate the Perry Bridge on the Te Awa River Ride.