Help us to restore
 Historic Kopu Bridge​

The very last swing bridge in NZ

they don't make 'em like that anymore

Help us to restore the Historic Kopu Bridge - the last remaining operational swing span bridge in New Zealand and an important part of our industrial engineering heritage.

The one lane bridge crosses the Waihou River near Thames, Coromandel and is a Heritage New Zealand Category 1 Historic Place, the most important heritage ranking in New Zealand. It is also listed on the Engineering NZ (formally IPENZ) Engineering Heritage Register.

After the new two lane Kopu Bridge opening in December 2011, the old bridge was closed and under threat of destruction. Six years later, in March 2018, after a long fight against demolition, NZTA gave community ownership of the old Kopu Bridge to the Kopu Bridge and Community Trust. The Trust plans to restore the bridge as a pedestrian and cycleway adjacent to the Hauraki Rail Trail.

Restoring the bridge for public use will cost far less and bring recreational, tourism and economic benefits to Kopu, Thames and the greater Coromandel Peninsula. Just as it did when it was opened with great fanfare in 1928, opening up and revitalising The Thames after the gold rush and giving rise to the new gold - tourism and kiwi bach culture.

Avoiding demolition also saves tax payers money of more than $3.9 million dollars - the estimated cost to destroy this heritage asset.

We envisage the bridge will reopen 2020/2021.


The Trust needs your help please with donations, bequests, sponsorship, services, volunteering or joining the Historic Kopu Bridge Society as a member.

It's a big project (all 463 metres of her) - but with your help, we can get her back in the swing of things!

Past Events

costume convergence on kopu bridge


(as part of the thames steampunk festival)

Saturday 9 Nov 4-5pm

steampunk the thames logo.jpg

 UPDATE on Guinness World Record
Looks like we did it! 🎉Unofficial tally at 252. (Confirmation by Guinness may take a while as we have to collate and present all our evidence for sign off)
A huge thank you to all who helped make this happen You're awesome!
Especially to all our volunteers and witnesses
(Source Steampunk The Thames facebook page)


Trace the tracks of horse drawn carts, bicycles and early Model-Ts as we gather the
largest number of Steampunkers on a single lane bridge.

Converge on the concourse at the cul de sac (east side) of the historic Kopu Bridge before
promenading on to this quarter of a mile long 90 year old beauty, a relic from the post Victorian era – the age
of daring engineering enterprises and stupendous innovation.

Official photos of crowd taken at 4.30pm. 

No Weapons on the bridge please.

A fundraiser for the Historic Kopu Bridge Restoration.


(as part of the Thames Heritage Festival)
16th March 2019

Ian Thomas

1930 - 2019

We are deeply saddened by the passing of our wonderful volunteer Ian Thomas aged 89.

Ian was a bridge pilot on the Kopu Bridge in the 1950s and kindly passed on his knowledge to us, training our team of volunteers how to open the bridge.