Kaiparoro Anzac Bridge turns one hundred
A well-attended centenary celebration was recently held at The Anzac Memorial Bridge in Kaiparoro. The Friends of the Bridge and local northern Wairarapa community held a commemorative service in December which was also attended by Wairarapa MP Kieran McAnulty.
Listed as a category 1 place on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rārangi Kōrero, the bridge is a lasting memorial to those who served in WWI and WWII. The plaque on the bridge specifically mentions the servicemembers who came from the district and those who died in both wars.
The Anzac Memorial Bridge is significant not only as a monument dedicated to the Anzacs, but also as a functioning bridge. These aspects are individually rare within Aotearoa New Zealand and their combination means it is a unique structure.
A re-enactment of the official opening, including cutting the ribbon with the original scissors took place with a laying of wreaths.
The Memorial Bridge was designed, and its construction supervised, by distinguished civil engineer Alfred Falkner, whose achievements also included designing the Hurunui Bridge and planning the route of the Wellington to Manawatū Railway. He was also involved in designing the water supply system for Eketahuna just up the highway.
The celebrations provided an opportunity to recognise the tremendous work of many residents and heritage organisations to restore the bridge for future generations.
A new book, titled A Century of Service, compiled by Glenys E Hansen, captures these stories and the key moments in the life of the bridge.