The government opened up the Mangapūrua Valley for a soldier settlement scheme in 1919. A timber swing bridge was built to link the isolated valley with the steamer that carried goods and passengers on the Whanganui River. It was replaced in 1936 by this concrete bridge, but by then the valley’s soil had become less fertile and the last settlers walked off their farms in 1942. It is now known as the ‘bridge to nowhere’.
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