Auckland Harbour Bridge Protest: People Power Wins the Day (+Photos)


They lectured us about how they had “put an advertisement in the newspaper” warning the GetAcross Campaign that the idea of cycling or walking across the bridge this morning to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Auckland Harbour Bridge and campaign for cycle and walkways was too dangerous and would not be allowed.


They erected wire along the Curran St onramp, barricaded the onramp and blocked it with cop cars and paddy wagons. Thousands packed the small park area overlooking the bridge herded in to stop from being able to travel across.

But in the end, thousands gave the fingers to the authorities and broke through and started walking or cycling across.

The cops and Transport Agency officials could not stop us but directed us to walk across the middle North Shore bound-lanes saying the clip-ons were too dangerous to walk across.

It was a peaceful good-natured protest with many thanking the cops on their way back again - but it caused North Shore -bound traffic to be halted for over an hour and some irate stationary motorists wound down their window and shouted abuse.

Green’s co-leader and Mt Albert by-election candidate Russel Norman was among those present. Good on him.

GREENS: Russel Norman talks to the authorities


So now the protest has happened  - and apart from an hour of unplanned traffic disruption - can the Transport Agency be kind and let all Aucklanders walk across the bridge next week to mark the actual opening of the bridge

Today was the 50th anniversary of the actual official walk across before the bridge opened. Auckland did not suffer - so what’s your excuse now? Or are you going to fine us all the $250 fine for walking or cycling across?!

The original 1959 walk |Thanks to North Shore Library




  1. Joshua says:

    My word that was fun! NZTA really stuffed up this time - they could have easily organised the bridge to be 2×2 lanes on its eastern side.

    I agree - next Sunday for the official walk!

  2. Jon says:

    That was a great day! We all rubbed the noses of NZTA fairly and squarely in the mud!

    Awesome to see the families there too. It was normal Auckland, wanting to do something normal!

  3. Hi there!
    I was there too!
    The walk across was a great example of how we can get together and do big things in a positive way.
    Thanks to everyone involved with Get Across and to everyone with the NZTA and Police, etc.
    Together we can remove all blocks to affordable methods of transit and freedom of movement for all of us!

    Thanks all!


  4. Craig says:

    An incredible time had by all - what a day to make history! I really loved the first photo you put up so I hope you don’t mind that I’ve uploaded it to the Facebook Event page - and given credit. Let me know if you’d prefer I took it down.

  5. Fantastic! great to see so many supporting the cause and a big thanks to the guys in orange and in blue keeping us safe. We’ll back (on the tandem again) next week if it’s a go for another crossing.
    What are NZTA thinking - holding a conference to celebrate the bridge’s 50th (based on the theme “bridges - connecting communities”) this coming week and allowing “their select few” the opportunity to walk across the bridge in celebration. Did they really think we wouldn’t find out?? did they really think the public wouldn’t have something to say about that?
    The bridge is OURS!
    Common Auckland get in behind the cause! make some noise and burn some fat not oil.

  6. Vidyapati says:

    Awesome! It was such an amazing event. I’m keen to compile a booklet full of stories from people who attended, just to keep the spirit of people power alive. Are you keen to contribute?

  7. Paul Swift says:

    NZTA argues that it would not have been safe to let pedestrians walk across the clipon. So they forced the protest onto the main span. A number of people have commented that NZTA may have done this deliberately to annoy the Auckland population at large by holding up traffic.

    This sounds likely. Since no one has ever suggested that the Auckland marathon causes a problem. What is going on here? Wayne McDonald has made a big thing about banning access across the bridge in the interests of safety. But while today’s protest caused regrettable annoyance to motorists blocked from the main span, NZTA should open up the western clipon every Sunday to allow people to cycle or walk across.

  8. Justin says:

    It always amazes me that in our Clean Green Country (must be the biggest lie circulating the world) where we are meant to support environmentally positive transport every city in NZ seems totally under the thumb of motorists. They seem to have the idea that we must make things easier for motorist at all cost, well how does this fit with the ‘Clean Green’ concept.

    The answer to Auckland’s lack of cycle or walkway across the bridge is easy. Make one of the car lanes a cycle and walkway. Make it harder for cars to get from a to b and maybe people will stop using them as much.

  9. Geoff says:

    Wonderful event, and yes let see it made public about next week walk across, to give the police and NZTA time to organise themselves instead of burying their heads in the sand. The police were great well done but no brain Wayne should not be so arrogant to think the bridge belongs to a select few….WRONG…. it belongs to the people…The photo (above of the cyclist in front of the police cars) shows power to the pedal but also includes all people.

  10. Congratulations to everybody that made the crossing and thanks for all the fantastic photographs. I will definitely join the next crossing !

  11. Paul Swift says:

    Wayne McDonald has a real Ces Blazey feel about him. For those who werent around Ces was the Chair of the NZ Rugby Union who stumped up on TV to advance the cause of whites only rugby tours. He was indefatigable in not giving any reason for wanting whites only tours to continue other than to say that there was no place for politics in sport (ie no place for moral issues in sport).

    Wayne is similar. He stumps up saying that cyclists and pedestrians are not allowed on motorways, the bridge is a motorway, therefore … QED. Great logic in a democracy. When pushed he argues that it is in the interests of public safety. But the safety issue is never rationally argued.

    Great to know that the spirit of Ces Blazey lives on. And was Ces proven right? Eventually a majority of NZers realised he and his mate Jolyon Firth and other were talking tosh.

  12. Alan says:

    I hope everyone gets the fine. I’m sorry, but just because you disagree with the decision of the authorities, you can’t go breaking the law and endangering lives. What if a motorist have swerved to avoid you, crashed, and died. How would you guys feel then? What sort of message does this give to the kids there? That the police and the law are only to be obeyed if they agree with you?

    I’m not saying you don’t have a right to protest, I’m just saying you don’t have a righ to protest and endanger lives.

  13. kituhhh says:

    ill say man what idiots who would walk in the traffic and it gets very windy and what if they get blown off its very dangerous when your on the bridge…


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