Bridge masterpiece now centre piece

HELEN HARVEY
Last updated 05:00 20/01/2014
Ernie Corbett
CHARLOTTE CURD/Fairfax NZ

BRIDGE BUILDER: Ernie Corbett's miniature Te Rewa Rewa bridge was on display at the Taranaki Orchid Summer Show this weekend.

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A miniature Te Rewa Rewa bridge has been attracting a lot of interest since it first appeared at an orchid show last year.

This weekend it was back on show as the centre piece for a display of orchids at the annual Taranaki Orchid Society Summer Show.

The bridge is to scale and is "close", but not quite, to being an exact replica of the award-winning New Plymouth bridge, builder Ernie Corbett, 72, said.

He took photos of the real bridge, worked out the measurements and divided the length of the bridge by 30.

The bridge was made of an assortment of materials that Mr Corbett had at hand, such as 3mm plywood for the curves. The uprights on the bridge were made from wire from electrical cable.

Then the whole bridge was painted, he said. "It was a challenge. I enjoyed it."

Mr Corbett, a retired "chippie", can't remember who came up with the idea for the bridge. But it was first mooted about two years ago when planning for the New Zealand National Orchid Expo 2013, held in New Plymouth last November, was under way.

Calls went out for ideas for the Taranaki stand and the Te Rewa Rewa Bridge came up.

Mr Corbett offered to make it and started last February. He finished it in October.

He also made a timber box so it could be transported safely.

Since the expo he has had requests for both the use of the bridge and the bridge itself, but is still deciding what to do with his masterpiece. "I'll hang on to it for a while and see what happens."

As for his next project - "I'm retired," he said laughing. "I might go out in a blaze of glory."

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- Taranaki Daily News

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