Newspaper Article 1963 – End of old bridge

End of old bridge

The 63-year-old wooden Mohaka bridge on the Napier-Taupo road will be blown up by Ministry of Works engineers tomorrow morning.

The 400-feet-long bridge – replaced by the new high-level bridge opened late last year –
has been condemned to a spectacular end. A demolition team plan to detonate explosives at each end of the bridge and let the huge wooden structure plunge 40 feet to the riverbed below.

Mr J. B. S. Huizing, district materials and design engineer, said today: “The old bridge has been a constant source of worry for a long time, and it’s costing money to keep it there.

“So it has been decided that it has to go, and blowing it up seems to be the quickest and cheapest way of getting rid of it.”

The old bridge – one of the best-known in Hawke’s Bay – was one of the first to span the Mohaka. It was built in 1899-1900 by Messrs McGrath and Burke.

Bailey bridging used to reinforce the ailing wooden structure has been removed. Most of the decking has also been stripped off to make the structure as light as possible for tomorrow’s explosion.


Holes will be drilled in end members and will be packed with explosives.

Mr Huizing said that timber of the crumpled structure in the riverbed would be salvaged.  “Good hard timber is difficult to get, so we hope that the old bridge will provide us with plenty of hard timber for maintenance work,” he said.

He said the old bridge had been maintained for a while after the opening of the new bridge as it was being used by vehicles engaged in carrying earthwork materials from the riverbed.

“But now the bridge is finished,” he said. “We are paying £1 a ton for the Bailey bridging and it is not being used at all now. So it has to come down.”


The old Mohaka bridge on the Napier-Taupo road to be demolished tomorrow was constructed in 1899 – 1900 for a total cost of £6545 13s 7d – a little more than £15  per foot.

The cost of the new high-level Mohaka road bridge which has replaced the old wooden structure was more than £150 per foot.

The Ministry of work’s district materials officer, Mr. J. B. S. Huizing, said today that the final bill for the new bridge, including all the trimmings which are still being completed, would be more than £208,000.

Photo caption – THE BRIDGE … to end its days tomorrow.

Original digital file


Non-commercial use

Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 New Zealand (CC BY-NC 3.0 NZ)

This work is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 New Zealand (CC BY-NC 3.0 NZ).


Commercial Use

Copyright on this material is owned by Hawke's Bay Today and is not available for commercial use without their consent.


Napier-Taupo Road

Format of the original

Newspaper article

Date published

10 September 1963


The Daily Telegraph


Published with permission of Hawke's Bay Today


  • J B S Huizing

Accession number


Do you know something about this record?

Please note we cannot verify the accuracy of any information posted by the community.

Supporters and sponsors

We sincerely thank the following businesses and organisations for their support.