Did you know…
Legend has it that there was an early crossing point in the area that consisted of a number of steeping stones. At low tide, local iwi used these stones so that they could cross on foot between Mangere and Onehunga. These stones are nowhere to be seen today, covered in several feet of silt.
The first bridge built across the harbour was opened in 1875. It provided an important link between the growing community in Mangere and the bustling port at Onehunga.
This bridge was a narrow, one-way wooden structure that quickly deteriorated and was rather hazardous to walk over in high winds and stormy weather. It was also prone to attack by ship worms!
Small bays were later added so pedestrians could avoid animals and horse drawn vehicles. On calm days, the hooves of the animals on the bridge are said to have echoed loudly across the harbour.
The second Mangere Bridge (now known as the Old Mangere Bridge) officially opened in 1915.
The bridge was designed by Mr R.F. Moore who also designed the Grafton Bridge. It cost approximately ₤22,000 - about $0.5 million in today’s terms.
This time the bridge was built using reinforced concrete and it is believed to be the oldest bridge of this type crossing a New Zealand Harbour.
In the 1980s the bridge was in such bad condition a Bailey bridge (temporary bridge) over the existing bridge was built so it could stay open.
With the opening of a new motorway crossing over the Manukau Harbour in 1983, the Old Mangere Bridge closed to all traffic except for cyclists and pedestrians.