Story: Veterans’ assistance

Soldier settlement: 'bridge to nowhere' (3rd of 3)

Soldier settlement: 'bridge to nowhere'

Perhaps the most unsuccessful post-First World War soldier settlement was in the remote Mangapūrua valley, accessible only via the Whanganui River. When the area was first opened up, in 1919, a wooden swing bridge was built, enabling residents to cross a steep gorge separating them from the access point on the Whanganui River. In 1936 the bridge was replaced by this concrete structure, part of a planned route to Whangamōmona in inland Taranaki. However the farms proved uneconomic. In 1942 the last settlers left, and the road was never built. The bridge later became a popular attraction for canoeists along the Whanganui River, and was nicknamed the 'bridge to nowhere'.

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How to cite this page:

Mark Derby, 'Veterans’ assistance - Economic rehabilitation', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 19 May 2022)

Story by Mark Derby, published 20 Jun 2012