The Poet's Bridge

Pukekura Park, 10 Fillis Street, New Plymouth

  • The Poet’s Bridge, Pukekura Park, New Plymouth. Image courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org.
    Copyright: russellstreet - Wikimedia Commons. Taken By: russellstreet. Date: 6/02/2012.
  • The Poet’s Bridge, Pukekura Park, New Plymouth. Image courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org.
    Copyright: russellstreet - Wikimedia Commons. Taken By: russellstreet. Date: 6/02/2012.
  • The Poet’s Bridge, Pukekura Park, New Plymouth. CC Licence 2.0 Image courtesy of www.flickr.com.
    Copyright: exequielbc - flickr.com. Taken By: exequielbc. Date: 16/02/2014.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Able to Visit
List Number 7238 Date Entered 14th July 1995

Locationopen/close

Extent of List Entry

Extent includes part of the land described as Secs 1237-1238 Town of New Plymouth (CT 606481; NZ Gazette 2013 p.47), Taranaki Land District, and the structure known as The Poet’s Bridge thereon, including its abutments. Refer to the extent map tabled at the

Rārangi Kōrero meeting on 8 June 2017.

City/District Council

New Plymouth District

Region

Taranaki Region

Legal description

Secs 1237-1238 Town of New Plymouth (CT 606481; NZ Gazette 2013 p.47), Taranaki Land District

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Recommendation for Classification report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Historical:

The Poet's Bridge, a gift of public benefaction, has been part of New Plymouth's recreational life since 1883. The replica constructed in 1937 continues this tradition but also has new and valid historical associations of its own.

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Recommendation for Classification report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Aesthetic:

The Poet's Bridge is situated across the boating lake at Pukekura Park. It can be viewed from a distance or appreciated at close range and is still in use as a pedestrian bridge. It has native bush surrounds and stands out as a result of its bright red colour which is said to have been inspired by the red lacquer bridge at NIkko, Japan (K Prichard).

Architectural:

The Poet's Bridge was designed by H YD. Barclay, an engineer, and opened on 11 March 1884. By 1937 the bridge had deteriorated to such an extent that rebuilding was necessary. The replica displays an ethical integrity because it can be distinguished as a new piece of work.

It does not pretend to be the original bridge. It is unclear how much of the original fabric still remains.

Technological:

The bridge appears well-designed, well-constructed and has survived nearly 60 years of use.

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Recommendation for Classification report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Cultural/Social:

As part of Pukekura Park for over one hundred years the bridge has played a significant part in the recreational life of New Plymouth.

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Recommendation for Classification report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

a) the extent to which the place reflects important or representative aspects of New Zealand history:

b) the association of the place with events, persons, or ideas of importance in New Zealand history:

c) the potential of the place to provide knowledge of New Zealand history:

The Poet's Bridge was first built in 1883 and was financed by a donation made by Mr J T Davis from winnings of £150 from a horse race. The winning horse was named 'The Poet'. The bridge reflects representative aspects of New Zealand history, including transport, public benefaction and public parks.

It has the potential to provide knowledge of aspects of New Zealand history, in that the 1937 bridge may contain material recycled from the original. From this maybe gained information on construction techniques and contemporary material.

The most important aspect of the bridge is its role as an icon; the bridge has achieved a level of local significance in the popular mind.

e) the community association with, or public esteem for, the place:

The Poet's Bridge has achieved a level of local significance in the popular mind by virtue of its prominent position in a place of public recreation. On the bridge is a plaque commemorating a gift of public benefaction.

g) the technical accomplishment or value, or design of the place:

The bridge appears well-designed, well-constructed and has survived nearly 60 years of use. The current replica bridge is thought to follow the construction of the original 1884 bridge. The two arched members have a U-shaped cross-section, built up from two angle irons; girders and bracing are of iron and steel; the decking and balustrades are of timber.

Conclusion:

The Poet's Bridge, New Plymouth, is recommended for registration as a Category II as a place of historical and cultural heritage significance and value. A gift of public benefaction, the bridge across the boating lake at Pukekura Park has had a prominent position in this public recreational space since 1883. The community's association with this structure, even though replicated in 1937, is still strong. It also has aesthetic appeal.

Linksopen/close

Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description

Design Engineer: H V D Barclay

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1884 -
Opened 11 March 1884

Modification
1937 -
Due to deteriorated state of the bridge it was rebuilt replicating the original

Information Sources

New Zealand Historic Places Trust (NZHPT)

New Zealand Historic Places Trust

Nomination Form

Scanlan, 1978

A B Scanlon, Pukekura - A Centennial History of Pukekura Park and Brooklands, New Plymouth (1978)

Other Information

A copy of the original report is available from the NZHPT Central Region office

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.