Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 21, June 1977
By V.M. STRONG
A traditional Maori ceremony with action songs and hakas, by the Kerepehi Maori Concert Group, marked the occasion of the official opening of the new Kaihere Bridge across the Piako River by the Member for Hauraki, Mr. A. E. Kinsella. Mr. Kinsella, in an address prior to declaring the new structure open, said the completion of a bridge project was one of the most important happenings that could occur. It gave new contact to people both in social and commercial spheres, and offered alternative outlets from areas concerned, to other districts. On the social side it brought closer contact to those living on opposite sides of the water, which could lead to a better understanding of common problems. Commercially it was a means of cutting down transport costs, with the resultant build up in potential prosperity of a district. Mr. Kinsella said he had first made representations to have the project implemented when he first entered Parliament.
The bridge was another link in the progress of the County. Changes in the Plains area were nothing short of fantastic, especially when one could recall that not so many years previously, Ngatea was a small village bordering deep drains. Mr. Kinsella in a gesture to pioneer settlers, sought the assistance of Miss H. M. Tizard, a well known former Kaihere resident, in declaring the new structure open by cutting the ribbon across the carriageway, at the Kaihere end of the bridge. "The advent of the new bridge was a tribute to a combined effort by the county settlers, Dairy Company, Paeroa Borough and Kerepehi and Ngatea business men", said Mr. H. Haywood, Chairman of the Hauraki County Council. Efforts to get a bridge had started as early as 1920. The New Zealand Dairy Company in agreeing to pay part of the local share of the costs, was one of the prime factors in successful negotiations. Mr. Haywood said the new bridge would not be the last bridge built in the area - the council would soon be making representations for a new two-lane structure over the Awaiti Canal, Kerepehi, to replace the present single lane structure.
MRS. V.M. STRONG, well known resident of Kerepehi, where she has lived for 53 years. Mr. Strong was employed by Lands and Survey Dept., commencing farming in 1930. Mrs. Strong has taken active interest in:- Plunket Soc., Mothers Club, Womens Div. Fed/Farmers, Methodist Church, Patriotic work (W.W.2), I.H.C., Crippled Children, Maori Welfare, M.U.O.O.F. Lodge & Thames Hosp. Bd. member for 3 years. In 1951 she was appointed J.P. Recently Mr & Mrs Strong celebrated a Golden Wedding.