Harbour Bridge landscaping pays tribute to NZ heritage

Harbour Bridge landscaping pays tribute to NZ heritage

Words uttered by a prominent Maori chief and seven of New Zealand’s well known writers are being painted on piers supporting the Auckland Harbour Bridge as part of the first stage of a landscaping project. 

The paintings include excerpts of poetry and prose written by Janet Frame, Bruce Mason, Frank Sargeson, A.R.D Fairburn, Maurice Duggan, Kendrick Smithyman and Robyn Hyde (Iris Wilkinson). There is also a quotation from the Waitakere chief, Te Waatarauihi, speaking in 1860 of his relationship to the area.

The paintings are known as ‘The Trestle Leg Series’ – engineers describe the piers supporting both box girders (clip-ons) at Stokes Point as trestle legs.

The NZTA made a commitment to the Stokes Point community that the area would be landscaped when its project to strengthen the box girders on either side of the northern end of the harbour bridge was completed.

The NZTA project team is led by landscape architect Cathy Challinor from design and environmental consultancy Boffa Miskell.

Local iwi representatives and literary experts and artist Catherine Griffiths contributed to the series, and specialist signage companies, Signright and Designcraft, installed the work.

“It’s a unique opportunity to showcase heritage important to Auckland and New Zealand in such a special and public place,” says  Challinor.

Stage 1 has cost around $150,000. The second stage of the landscaping, also costing around $150,000, will start later this year, including improved lighting and paving, and more recognition of natural and cultural landmarks acknowledging that Stokes Point was previously home to a busy Maori community at Te Onewa Pa.


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