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Piha’s eel bridge in line for another award

Media Release

June 9, 2009
Piha’s eel bridge in line for another award

Piha’s ‘Story of the Eel’ footbridge is in the running for another national award after being named finalist in the Association of Consulting Engineers Innovate NZ 2009 Awards.

The bridge, linking the Piha Domain with Piha South Beach is among 35 finalists for the awards, which are announced on July 25.

In its submission for the awards, Duffill Watts, consulting engineers on the project, described the bridge as a technically complex structure, as it was challenging to incorporate the artistic aspirations of the design with a structure which met building standards and be in keeping with the unique coastal environment of Piha.

The bridge concept was created by Piha artist Mandy Patmore and represents the migratory eel, celebrating the long and short fin eels that still live in the Piha Stream.

Its winding eel-like shape is combined with a floor surface inlayed with motifs representing the different stages of the eel’s life cycle.

Historically, eels were of great significance to early Maori, featuring in many myths.

“Having a bridge in the shape of an eel provides an opportunity explain the value of conservation to visitors,” says Mandy Patmore.

“The eels inlayed on its floor help people understand more about this amazing creature.”

Prior to its opening last year, the bridge was judged the most outstanding project at the New Zealand Recreation Association Awards.

At the time the judges praised the council for the holistic approach it took to the project and going that extra mile to make the bridge interesting.

The community was very involved in the process, including have representatives on the panel which decide on the final design the bridge.

The Piha footbridge is one of several art bridges throughout Waitakere which integrate art with modern infrastructure. Others include the Rewarewa footbridge in New Lynn, a bridge over the Opanuku Stream in Henderson and McLeod’s Crossing, also in Henderson.

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