Stories of the bridge

18:41, Dec 18 2013
Hannah Alleyne
REMEMBRANCE: Hannah Alleyne is researching her masters project based on her own and other people’s memories of old Mangere Bridge.

Sitting in traffic isn't usually the stuff fond memories are made of.

But Hannah Alleyne's childhood recollections of being stuck in traffic with her Dad on the old Mangere Bridge have inspired the topic for her two-year masters degree project.

The design graduate is researching how spatial planning can help foster and preserve people's memories of a certain place.

She clearly recalls crossing the old Mangere Bridge when she was about five years old.

It was before the motorway bridge was built and the airport had not been open long so the "pretty rickety" old bridge was a busy road, she says.

"That was my time with my Dad, stuck in that car," Ms Alleyne says.


"It's not an extra special or traumatic memory but structures, buildings hold memories for everyone."

Ms Alleyne has completed the research stage of her project and is now collecting people's memories of the bridge.

She hopes to collate some indepth oral histories from people who have strong links with the old crossing as well as talk to people at the bridge about any memories they might have.

So far she's spoken to about 12 people and says their stories range from fishing on the bridge to sitting on it and eating meals with family.

The old bridge will come down next year and Ms Alleyne is planning to build an "installation" on the site to help people "retain their memories and foster new ones".

She doesn't know what form the structure will take at this point but says the reminiscences will help her decide what to build.

"I'm not imagining anything really big. I would like it to be more subtle," she says.

"It will be sad to see the bridge go. I would love to see it maintained but it's also very expensive."

Ms Alleyne is completing her masters at Unitec and is enjoying the project.

"I just love it. I love learning, so to have these two years to just learn something at a masters level, I feel like I'm spoiling myself."

Manukau Courier