Friends of the Farm – a community group
A New Addition to Naomi & Bill Kirk Park
Naomi & Bill Kirk Park now has a new artwork. A piece of the old Māngere Bridge has been installed on an old plinth that had been empty for over 15 years.
The old balustrade piece is a lasting memorial to the old bridge that has been used by generations of Māngere Bridgers and the wider Auckland community.
Waka Kotahi who planned and built the new bridge generously released a piece of the old bridge to the Māngere Bridge Progressive Business Association (MBPBA) and Māngere Bridge Residents and Ratepayers to be installed in our community. The bridge contractor McConnell Dowell agreed to transport and install the balustrade, and made a special support bracket for it. They also provided the crane, staff and traffic management to enable the installation. Special thanks to them for their generosity and encouragement for this project. The Local Board also supported the project.
It has taken countless hours of volunteer work and assistance from many people to complete this project. Don Tilbrook deserves special mention for taking responsibility for the engineering and design requirements of the project, ensuring that the balustrade would be safe once installed. It shows the strength of this community and what can be achieved when we work together.
This piece will form part of the Māngere Bridge Heritage Trail which is in developmental stages, but will start as you leave the new bridge and head to the village and beyond.
An engraved sign will be added to the plinth shortly providing background information about the balustrade and the old bridge.
Naomi and Bill Kirk Park is right in the middle of Māngere Bridge Village and a great place to sit and eat your lunch or breakfast. It’s close to many diverse eating places and a focus for many community events. The park is named after two long-term residents who made a huge contribution to this community.
Naomi KIrk helped establish the Village’s Playcentre and with her husband Bill Kirk was one of the suburbs first “graffiti busters”. They were often seen wearing spattered overalls and driving a ute loaded with paint. Bill served on the Manukau City Council and had a keen interest in water quality and the environment.
Both Bill and Naomi served on the Māngere Community Board and were founding members of the Māngere Bridge Community Patrol, the Keep Māngere Bridge Beautiful Committee and many other local organisations. Both were recognised for their long community service with Queens Service Medals in 2009. Naomi lived in Mangere Bridge for 60 years and Bill spent more than 80 years here. Their daughter Jude Dobson said “Dad was a community man. He was born in one end of Taylor Road, lived his married life in another part of it and retired and died in another part of it”.
Congratulations and thanks to the Mangere Bridge Business Association and the Mangere Bridge Residents and Ratepayers for their hard work and perseverance with this project.
- Story by Robyn Martin for Friends of the Farm