The lupins will have to wait! There was a bridge opening in town today and guess who was there to capture the moment? Moi of course! We timed that well, I'm here to shoot the lupins, a bridge opening is a bonus.
The Lake Tekapo Footbridge has been many years in the making with much fundraising and sponsorship. Initially it was thought that $1 million would be required; it will eventually cost over $2 million. (Click on the photos to enlarge)
On a beautiful sunny afternoon with a cool wind blowing, locals gathered beside their bridge to await the formalities.
As Chairwomen of Genesis Energy, a major sponsor of the bridge, Dame Jenny Shipley (a former & NZ's first female Prime Minister) had the honours of opening the bridge.
After speeches the official party moved to the bridge entrance where a Maori blessing was given...
... before a lone Scottish piper crossed the bridge (wearing MacKenzie tartan of course)...
...the ribbon was cut (MacKenzie tartan again) by Dame Jenny, Colin MacLean- bridge architect and Lake Tekapo Footbridge Chairman, and Clair Barlow- MacKenzie Mayor. (Good position there Shellie!)
Then the piper led the way back across the bridge with the official party behind followed by the general public.
I slotted in the middle somewhere and am very proud of the fact that I can now say that I was one of the first people across the bridge.
The view from the middle of the bridge up the river and out over the lake to the Southern Alps is spectacular...
...with the Church of the Good Shepherd taking pride of place on the rocky point amongst the flowering lupins.
Behind is the road bridge over the Tekapo Hydro Canal dam with the old (and still used) footpath on the far side.
A steady trickle of people were still making their way across the bridge after I arrived on the other side...
...many checking out their family 'planks'- a $1000 donation bought an engraved plank on the bridge.
The Parish Minister was waiting to greet the dignitaries and officials and led them down to the church carpark where he also blessed the bridge. He then made his way back to the middle of the bridge to check out the view. He looked like he was about to do a parachute jump the way his robes were blowing about.
I wandered off to shoot some lupins...
....while the locals wandered off to the "White House" for refreshments.
I crossed back over the bridge to find the minister still reading the engraved planks.
The opening plaque which will one day be attached to the landscaped stone entrance to the bridge.
And guess who else was at the opening? Not one....
...but three precious Australasian Crested Grebes! All looking a little perturbed at the activity on their stretch of water. The one above swam up to the dam wall but these two just could not bring themselves to swim under the bridge even though it was a long way up. The centre of the bridge is 125 metres off the water.
The Lake Tekapo Footbridge will be a major asset to the village not only joining the two residential sections of the town but also allowing easy access for visitors and tourists to the Church of the Good Shepherd and the Sheepdog Memorial. It will also form part of the 'Alps 2 Ocean' cycle trail and Te Araroa New Zealand's Trail. Well done Tekapo!