Two unique and visually striking steel masts lifted into place today (28 October) complete the centrepiece of Hamilton’s newest Waikato River bridge to Peacocke.
The footbridge bridge incorporates two 25m tall masts, known as taurapa, which act as a cap on top of the concrete foundations. These are part of a network of cultural expression and symbolism across the Peacocke strategic infrastructure projects and have been delivered in partnership with the Southern Links Tangata Whenua Working Group (TWWG).
Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate, who was on-site to watch the lifting of the masts, said the occasion was not just a significant milestone for the project, it was also a tangible outcome of Council’s partnership with iwi, mana whenua and the TWWG.
“Cultural symbolism and storytelling have been incorporated into different parts of this project, in collaboration and partnership with iwi and tangata whenua,” said Southgate.
“We’re starting to see the outcomes of our partnership through the taurapa, creating a special taonga or treasure for our city. It is so special to see beautiful elements woven into this project that tell a story about this place.”
During the initial design phase in 2018, the TWWG presented the concept of a waharoa (gateway) to identify the threshold of crossing the Waikato River into Peacocke as well as for those travelling along the river.
Speaking on behalf of TWWG, the project's Kaiarahi-Kaitiaki Marina Hape said kotahitanga - unity and inclusiveness - has been instrumental to the partnership across the Southern Links and Peacocke strategic infrastructure projects.
“Since 2018, the Tangata Whenua Working Group have been involved in the development of the footbridge concept alongside Council staff. The initial ideas were workshopped with engineers and architects as part of the process to create the final structure and designs,” said Hape.
“The newly installed masts represents a waharoa for river crossing and were inspired by traditional waka taurapa, the carved canoe stern piece.”
The artwork on each face of the masts was co-designed by professional artist Eugene Kara alongside TWWG. Each side of the masts face ngaa hau e whaa (the four winds) and acknowledge the connection between hapuu across the rohe (area) who descend from the ancestral canoe of Tainui.
The predominant motif is the takarangi - an intersecting spiral pattern used in Maaori carving and can be commonly seen on the stern posts of a canoe, door lintels of carved meeting houses and other carved forms denoting a signicant threshold.
In partnership with the Southern Links Tangata Whenua Working Group, cultural symbolism, tangata whenua values and storytelling have been incorporated into transport networks and three waters infrastructure in the Peacocke area. The Group is made up of delegated members from local hapuu who have ancestral connections to the Peacocke area, with representatives from Ngaati Maahanga, Ngaati Wairere, Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura and Ngaati Hauaa.
Peacocke is being built with the support from the Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund, made up of a $180.3 million 10-year interest-free loan and $110.1 million of Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency subsidies.
The Peacocke programme will deliver a new bridge, a transport network that caters for public transport, pedestrians and cyclists, parks, and strategic water, wastewater and stormwater networks. Other work includes protecting and enhancing the environment, including the extensive gully system, opening the area to the Waikato River, and investigating community facilities which are also important parts of creating a new community in Peacocke.
When completed, Peacocke will be home for up to 20,000 Hamiltonians.