A 4WD completes one of 10 river crossings with two of the
logs used to construct a bridge over Soho Creek in
Macetown. The bridge was completed on June 21 by Arrowtown
resident John Mowat and his "little army".
It could be said the story of Arrowtown resident John
Mowat and the three bridges he has built in Macetown began in
At the time, Mr Mowat had been unemployed for 12 months and
decided to go on holiday.
With a friend and her daughter in tow, Mr Mowat "decided to
go on a cruise in a house bus".
After arriving in Arrowtown, the trio decided to walk into
Macetown, where they set up camp for the night.
The next morning, a Nomad Safaris 4WD came past and fate
intervened, Mr Mowat ending his conversation with a job
"I hadn't had a job for over a year. I began driving for
Nomad and I thought I would do something for Macetown."
Years later, he decided to reinstate a pedestrian bridge that
had been removed following the Cave Creek tragedy.
In April 1995, 14 members of a party of students from the
Outdoor Recreation course at Tai Poutini Polytechnic in
Greymouth were killed when a viewing platform above Cave
Creek, in the Paparoa National Park on the West Coast,
Mr Mowat asked the Department of Conservation when the
Macetown bridge was going to be replaced and the department
replied "it wasn't going to be".
Four months later, Mr Mowat tried again, asking if he could
build the bridge for the department with the help of an
An old bridge was found, restored and taken in to Macetown as
the Millennium Project for Arrowtown.
Not long after the bridge was completed, Mr Mowat found the
remains of another bridge and approached Doc again. The
department allowed Mr Mowat to reinstate a second bridge,
which was sourced from the former Clyde dam project and work
finished last winter. However, access to that bridge was
blocked by Soho Creek.
"Quite often, it's too high to get across the river on foot
and we needed a bridge to get across safely.
"Initially, they were a bit sceptical," Mr Mowat said.
Iconic Adventures, organiser of the Motatapu adventure race,
needed to be able to cross Soho Creek for the annual event.
"I found out... if there was a high water event they had to
build a temporary bridge at a cost of $2000 and then pay
another $1000 to have it removed."
Mr Mowat again contacted Doc and was given permission to
construct the bridge, but was told to organise and pay for
the resource consents and pay for the construction of the