Art­work on Perry Bridge

Waikato News - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

Photo / Ge­off Lewis

The bridge un­der con­struc­tion.

Cut­ting tiles into strips for the mo­saics.

Pho­tos / Sup­plied

Some of the mo­saics that will dec­o­rate the Perry Bridge on the Te Awa River Ride.

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