ANZAC Memorial Bridge

State Highway 2, KAIPARORO


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The ANZAC Memorial Bridge, which is located south of Eketahuna at Kaiparoro next to State Highway 2, is a unique structure within New Zealand and was designed by local civil engineer Alfred Falkner (1854-1939). The concrete arch bridge was completed in 1922, mostly due to community efforts, and its memorial plaques were unveiled on ANZAC Day 1923. Kaiparoro was settled by members of the Wellington Special Settlement Group in the late nineteenth century. Despite railway construction work in the district the northern Wairarapa settlements like this were relatively slow to develop because it was heavily forested. However, by the early twentieth century the population in this farming and milling region was well-established and safe and efficient road travel was a growing concern. The often dangerous ford across the Makakahi River was the last river crossing on the main road through the Wairarapa to be bridged. However, it took a decade of persistent petitioning by local people for the ANZAC Memorial Bridge to be constructed. Over this period World War One had been fought and the loss of six of the area's young men hit Kaiparoro hard. The personal loss of a son and nephew at Gallipoli motivated Falkner to create not only a specific monument to commemorate the individuals, but also to honour ANZACs. For over 30 years the bridge was a landmark along the highway and because of its easily recognisable iconography its message reached a wide audience. However, this one-lane bridge was deviated away from in 1956. Over the next 50 years the structure had several minor periods of community-driven repair and restoration. Then in 2006 the newly formed Friends of ANZAC Memorial Bridge Kaiparoro Incorporated initiated a restoration project which included connecting it to the nearby W.A. Miller Reserve. As a result of this project the ANZAC Memorial Bridge is accessible by a short riverside walking track from the reserve and rest area. The stark white painted mass concrete structure is a contrast to the surrounding rolling farmland. The bridge is an open spandrel deck arch bridge which has had no major alterations or additions since original construction with the exception of elements pertaining to its memorial function. The bridge features several inscriptions, and plaster, metal, and granite plaques which elucidate its commemorative purpose. The ANZAC Memorial Bridge has outstanding significance because it is both a monument specifically dedicated to the ANZACs and a post-World War One functional war memorial in the form of a bridge. These aspects are individually rare within New Zealand, and their combination in the ANZAC Memorial Bridge means it is a unique structure. The bridge also has considerable local significance because its construction was the final link in the north Wairarapa highway infrastructure, and was one of the first concrete bridges in the region.

ANZAC Memorial Bridge. Image courtesy of | Shellie Evans - flyingkiwigirl | 17/11/2013 | Shellie Evans - flyingkiwigirl
ANZAC Memorial Bridge. Image courtesy of | Shellie Evans - flyingkiwigirl | 17/11/2013 | Shellie Evans - flyingkiwigirl
ANZAC Memorial Bridge. Central plaque: World War One Memorial Plaque replica | Karen Astwood | 15/10/2009 | NZ Historic Places Trust



List Entry Information


Detailed List Entry



List Entry Status

Historic Place Category 1


Able to Visit

List Number


Date Entered

4th April 2010

Date of Effect

4th April 2010

City/District Council

Tararua District


Horizons (Manawatū-Whanganui) Region

Extent of List Entry

Extent includes part of the land described as Secs 2-3 SO 485058 (NZ Gazette 2016, In1927; In1928), Wellington Land District, and the structure known as ANZAC Memorial Bridge thereon, including its abutments, as shown on the extent map tabled at the Rārangi Kōrero Committee meeting on 2 June 2016.

Legal description

Secs 2-3 SO 485058 (NZ Gazette 2016, In1927; In1928), Wellington Land District.

Location Description

Kaiparoro is approximately 8 kilometres south of Eketahuna. There is a tourist sign opposite the W.A. Miller Reserve which indicates it as an access point to 'ANZAC Bridge.' Parking is available at the reserve and a path parallel to the highway leads north to the bridge.

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