10/09/2021

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"We don't feel safe using the current bridge - I honestly feel like getting hit every time I use it"

Healthy Families Team are working with community leaders to address pedestrian safety in rural communities.

System Innovators Paul Condron and Tawhi Tua took to the streets prior to the recent lockdown - and work continues now in Alert Level-2.

Years of lobbying and community meetings have culminated in Healthy Families Far North being approached by Bay of Islands-Whangaroa Community Coordinator, Angela Norman to drive a change to protect the residents of rural township, Kāeo.

“The most unsafe bridge in the North” – a less than 10 metre stretch of State Highway 10 and described as a “mad-dash” for walkers and cyclists alike.

A replacement and upgrade has been in the works for the past two successive governments but little has been achieved.

“The community has had enough and we’re doing it ourselves – you could make a bridge out of the amount of letters and forms we’ve sent away”

Systems Innovator Tawhi Tua, commented that the vision of the community is for a reimagined living space that’s colourful, inviting and connects Kāeo with its historical kōrero and can support the growing community. “Whānau in the community consider the bridge to be a central focal point along with State Highway ten between Pakaraka and Kaitaia – Kāeo is a hive of activity, and a well-designed and multipurpose bridge has the potential to serve Kāeo and become a beacon for other rural townships in the Far North.”

Healthy Families Far North are also working with Far North Community wards to request speed reductions across the rohe, particular in North Hokianga, Awanui, Kāeo and Waipapa.