Whangarei's newest bridge will open to the public next month, suggesting the unofficial title "The City of Bridges" might gain support.
The bridge over the Waiarohia Stream, Kotuitui Whiti, and associated loop walkway around the Town Basin, will be officially opened on September 13 and Whangarei Mayor Sheryl Mai isn't ruling out the name "City of Bridges" saying it's not the first time it has been suggested.
"We have a beautiful long history of bridges. I'd love to share the name with the community, I'd be thrilled to hear what they think," Ms Mai said of "The City of Bridges" for a possible name.
The new bridge joins the $30 million bascule bridge Te Matau a Pohe, which opened in July last year, and is one of around 60 bridges in Whangarei city and 283 in the district.
The $1.7m Kotuitui Whiti will become the newest addition to Whangarei's collection of unique and innovative bridges. A traditional dawn ceremony will take place on September 13 with an official naming. It was originally planned to open the bridge on August 2, but recent storms halted construction. A central rotating section will allow boats to continue to use the Waiarohia stream.
Kotuitui Whiti is the lynchpin of the Hatea Loop (Huarahi o te Whai, or Pathway of Opportunity). This 4.2km long multi-use trail circles the inner harbour, from the canopy bridge at the Town Basin, to where Te Matau a Pohe spans the Hatea River between Okara and Pohe Island. The Hatea Loop, which can be joined and left at various locations along it, is also a connection between diverse activities and places, enhancing opportunities for social engagement, identity and pride, the council says. The district has become renowned for the number and design of its bridges.
In March of this year, members of the public were asked to suggest names for the new footbridge. The council collected 35 names and 25 for the looped walkway, deciding on Kotuitui Whiti and Hatea Loop. The formal opening will complete the 4.2km loop between the Town Basin, Port Rd and Riverside Dr.
Quotes from the streets
Whangarei's newest bridge - the $1.7 million swivel bridge Kotuitui Whiti - is to open next month, sparking a suggestion that Whangarei could possibly call itself the city of bridges, with 60 bridges in Whangarei city and 283 in the district. We took to the streets of Whangarei to ask a few people what they thought of the suggestion or if they had a better name for Whangarei?
"Haven't given it a lot of thought. I like it here, but I don't know what I'd give it as a name."
— Neil Johnson, from Taiharuru
"I didn't know we had that many bridges, I can only think of three. Surely we could call it something better than 'The City of Bridges'. We get a lot of sunshine - it's lovely in the summer."
— Gail Challenger, Ruakaka
"It's catchy. Sounds cool. If it was an Elvish Kingdom, I'd go to it. Whangarei does the best sushi. Maybe the 'The City in the middle of ... nowhere'."
— Lutz Hamm, Whangarei
"My dad is involved with the new bridge. It's really fitting now I'd say but I think 'The City of Beaches' would be more appropriate."
— Josh Moselen, Whangarei
What do you think?
What do you think about "The City of Bridges" as a name for Whangarei, or do you have another suggestion? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.