AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – Primary school students in Auckland have provided remarkable ideas for the Old Mangere Bridge on Manukau Harbour during consultation workshops with the New Zealand Transport Agency.
Students from three schools, Waterlea Primary School, Onehunga Primary School and Mangere Bridge School participated in a series of workshops in 2012 designed and conducted as part of the community consultation for replacing the old Mangere Bridge. The one-hour workshops involved approximately seventy primary students in years four to six (8 to 10 years old).
NZTA project manager Sarah Cronwright told students about the history of the old bridge. Then, NZTA structural engineer Bradley Yates stirred the imagination of students with a slideshow, entitled “Awesome Bridges from around the World”. His examples include the Henderson Wave Bridge in Singapore, the Langkawi SkyBridge in Malaysia and the Tianjin Eye Bridge in China, which includes a large Ferris wheel.
Suitably primed, the students worked with HookeED education consultant Pam Hook on their ideas for the new bridge. Some ideas were highly imaginative, such as an underwater tunnel for viewing fish and a prototype tube of fast-moving air, with an explanatory note that this would let people “get shot into Onehunga rather than walking.” Students suggested the bridge could look like a silver fern, or a lava flow and be the site for markets, fishing competitions and bicycle races.
Waterlea deputy principals, Penny Jensen and Andrea Jamieson said the consultation builds on the students’ prior learning about bridges, while aligning with other important outcomes such as student voice and knowing that people listen.
- Pam Hook’s Website
- New Zealand Transport Agency Newsletter
- Mangere Bridge Consultation (New Zealand)