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All-tide ramp ready

TAO LIN
Last updated 05:00 13/02/2014
Local kaumatua Whitiora Cooper
Tao Lin

BRIDGE BLESSINGS: Local kaumatua Whitiora Cooper, Jim Rauwhero and Eru Thompson bless the new Mangere Bridge boat ramp at an early morning ceremony.

ManMangere Bridge boat ramp
COMPLETE: The new Mangere Bridge boat ramp is finally opened after being closed since April 2013.

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It's taken seven years of planning, controversy and several setbacks but the new Mangere Bridge boat ramp is finally open for public use.

The ramp at the end of Coronation Rd by the old Mangere Bridge was blessed by kaumatua on Tuesday morning and officially opened by Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board chairwoman Lydia Sosene.

The only all-tide boat ramp in the area was closed in April last year while the $2.7 million Auckland Council project to replace it was under way.

The closure caused controversy among boaties and residents who argued all-tide emergency vessel access was desperately needed to the often dangerous harbour.

The new ramp is the culmination of years of wrangling and countless hours of investigations, consultations and modifications.

Board deputy chairwoman Carrol Elliott says the board is thrilled to bits with it.

"We now have a really high-class, well-designed all-weather boat ramp," she says.

Auckland Council asset development and business support manager Johan Ferreira says the weather and big tides presented some challenges in building the ramp.

There were issues with the coffer dam built so water could be pumped out of the work area.

But he's confident the ramp will be popular now it's finished.

Two pontoons along each side allow boats to turn around instead of having to back out from the ramp.

The pontoons mean two boats can dock or launch at the same time and boaties can line up and moor along them while they pick up or park their cars.

A widened turning circle at the top of the ramp also gives it an easier access.

Kaumatua Eru Thompson says the opening of the ramp has spiritual significance for Maori because of ancestral connections to the area.

Mr Thompson says the project's name is Nga Hau Mangere, meaning "The gentle breezes of the West Coast" and the blessing was conducted in accordance with the ancestral faith of the area, the Pai Marire faith.

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- Manukau Courier

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