ANZAC bridge volunteers earn praise

By Emily Norman emily.norman@age.co.nz -
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Tararua District councillor Tracey Collis and representatives of the Friends of the ANZAC Memorial Bridge Kaiparoro Lynette Dewes and Peter Bryson. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
Tararua District councillor Tracey Collis and representatives of the Friends of the ANZAC Memorial Bridge Kaiparoro Lynette Dewes and Peter Bryson. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Friends of the ANZAC Memorial Bridge represented Tararua's volunteer community at the Trustpower National Community Awards in Dunedin this month.

The event brought together 25 groups from around New Zealand who were all Supreme Winners of last year's Trustpower Community Awards, a programme run in partnership with local councils across the country.

The ANZAC Memorial Bridge at Kaiparoro, north of Masterton. PHOTO/FILE
The ANZAC Memorial Bridge at Kaiparoro, north of Masterton. PHOTO/FILE

Though the volunteers behind the Friends of the ANZAC Memorial Bridge Kaiparoro did not win the national award this year, they came out on top at the Trustpower Tararua District Community Awards last year, beating out 20 other local voluntary organisations for their dedication to preserving the bridge at Kaiparoro.

Friends membership secretary Lynette Dewes attended the national awards earlier this month alongside Peter Bryson, a descendant of the bridge structure's engineer, and Tararua District councillor Tracey Collis.

Trustpower community relations representative Emily Beaton said the dedication from a solid core of volunteers as well as the bridge engineer's great-grandson was incredible.

"What this group has set out to do is salvage the memorial aspect of the Kaiparoro bridge -- they've saved a special piece of their own community history and continue to ensure it's going to be around for future generations," she said.

"I understand the bridge is unique within New Zealand. We are lucky to have places to go in our country to serve and remember the men and women who died in wartime -- and we're even luckier to have folks like the Friends to help us hold on to those places."

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