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22/06/2022 2:09pm

The Ngatea Primary School students are studying local history and the school asked if it was possible to raise the bridge for the students.

Councillor Ross Harris was on hand to give the students some history of the bridge and we thought you’d all enjoy learning about it too! The bridge was last opened about 7 – 8 years ago.

Ross Harris gives local tamariki a history lesson about the Millennium Bridge

Ross Harris, Councillor, gives a quick local history lesson about the Millennium Bridge

Where is the Millennium Bridge?

You’ll have driven past it countless times between Ngatea and Paeroa, but did you know it’s not just a pedestrian footbridge, but a half scale working model of the old Piako River Bridge centre span? It was constructed in 2002 with funds raised by the community and is a reminder of the earlier importance of river travel on the Plains. Situated in Tilbury Reserve, Ngatea, opposite Hauraki Plains College on Orchard West Road, it’s a pretty picnic spot that just got a bit more fascinating.

Millennium Bridge on the rise

Millennium Bridge drawbridge rises up slowly, watched by Ngatea Primary School students

More about Tilbury Reserve

Named after local pioneering identity, Harry Tilbury, a drover who lived in a cottage that used to be sited on the reserve, Tilbury Reserve is a flat grass area on Orchard West Rd (and opposite Kaihere Rd), adjacent to the Piako River in Ngatea.

The bridge spans a small waterway, not big enough to sail anything up it, but after seeing how ‘stoked’ the tamariki were to see the bridge open, Parks and Reserve Manager, Paul Matthews says he’s considering making it a more regular thing.

Structurally it’s very sound, and with a bit of oil, grease and some paint on the metal work, it could be ready to be on show more often. 

Millennium Bridge raised up, showing the waterway below

Millennium Bridge raised up, showing the waterway below

Millennium Bridge, fully raised

Millennium Bridge, fully raised