The NZTA might have a dose of the colliwobbles over the perceived dangers of jumping off Taipā's new two-lane bridge, but that doesn't seem to have filtered down to the general populace.

The bridge had been officially opened for less than an hour on Monday before locals were doing backflips into the river below.

From the start, the design of the $19 million bridge included a platform on the downstream side for the time-honoured summer tradition of doing 'bombs,' the art of creating as big a splash as possible when jumping off a bridge, but last-minute safety concerns prompted a U-turn by the NZ Transport Agency, which late last week announced it had ditched the jumping platform in favour of a lookout.

That, however, seems unlikely to deter many people, especially on a sweltering day like Monday.


Associate Transport Minister Shane Jones had barely finished declaring the bridge open before 16-year-old Ella Bijl, from Taipā, was putting it to the test with a series of backflips. And she said the new bridge was a major improvement on the old one.

"It's harder to get over the rail, but it's higher and it's much better. It's more stable too. The rail on the old one was a bit rickety," she said.

With years of experience of jumping into the river, she added that the water was deep, and she had no safety concerns. She also noted that exit steps had been built on the river bank, so jumping was clearly expected.

Ella's 17-year-old brother Luke shared her confidence.

"I reckon they're trying to wrap us in cotton wool. There's risks to everything," he said, while 16-year-old Helen Wasey had another compelling argument. "There's not much else to do in Taipā anyway," she said.

As of Monday there were no signs banning jumping, only warning of submerged objects.