He Ara Kotahi Bridge & Pathway

MondayOpen 24 hours.

TuesdayOpen 24 hours.

WednesdayOpen 24 hours.

ThursdayOpen 24 hours.

FridayOpen 24 hours.

SaturdayOpen 24 hours.

SundayOpen 24 hours.

129 Dittmer Drive, West End

Get some fresh air at He Ara Kotahi bridge and walkway. The name means ‘a pathway that brings people together’, but you’ll find that this outdoor space does much more than that. The 7.1 km track connects Palmerston North city to Linton Military Camp, and another 1.8 km route connects the city to Massey University and FoodHQ. 18,000 people live or work within this area, making the walkway as functional as it is enjoyable.

Access the bridge from Ruha Street, Fitzherbert Avenue, Dairy Farm Road or Bells Road and explore all that it has to offer in terms of natural and cultural history. The bridge’s design was inspired by a fallen karaka tree. The ‘roots’ can be seen on the Massey University side and the ‘canopy’ on the Dittmer Reserve side. The karaka has a strong association with the region’s iwi, Rangitāne o Manawatū, as karaka were once found on the Manawatū River’s southern banks. These trees have provided shade, shelter and food for generations. The bridge is impressive, symbolic and beautifully lit in the evening hours.

The site of He Ara Kotahi was once known as Mokomoko - a large Rangitāne village whose history encompasses both harmony and conflict. The village was occupied by the iwi for 300 years and included gardens and a trading port. A historical standoff over the site took place between Chief Te Peeti Te Awe Awe, a large hokowhitu (battalion) and adversaries on the Kairanga battlefield on the Linton side of He Ara Kotahi. Rangitāne were victorious and are survived by their descendants who live in Palmerston North today.

If you have time to continue along the pathway you’ll pass by forests, dairy farms, pā sites, Linton military camp and streams in under nine kilometers.  The diversity of wildlife and land use along this walk is unique and supported by the river itself. Walk, bike or bring your dog for a wander to experience both the natural and cultural histories of the region as you go along. If you keep a sharp eye out you might even spot kārearea (New Zealand falcon), pheasants, herons, piwakawaka, tūī, kererū, mallard and paradise ducks or green tree geckos.

Words by Olivia Sisson & Photography by Anna Briggs

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129 Dittmer Drive, West End

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