In less than 24 hours, half the 110 planks available for sponsorship on a new Queenstown Trail bridge were snapped up.

Construction of the 90-metre Kimi-ākau suspension bridge, spanning the Shotover River at Tucker Beach, is under way, forming part of the Queenstown Trails’ new Shotover Gorge Trail, which links Arthurs Point to Frankton.

The trust launched ‘The Great Kimi-ākau Bridge Plank Challenge’ on Monday, enabling individuals, businesses or community groups to sponsor one of the planks for $1500 a pop.

Long-time loyal trail supporters Julian and Lizanne Knights kicked off the fundraising, sponsoring five planks with a $7500 donation.

Queenstown Trails CEO Mark ‘Willy’ Williams says in addition to two major donors, the Kimi-ākau bridge has been a co-funded project from the start.

‘In conjunction with the Trail Lovers fundraising campaign, we thought what a neat way for the community to be involved in funding this stunning new bridge that will be an iconic destination on the trail.

‘‘We thought there might be a trail user or two who will be interested in sponsoring a plank on the bridge, but we have been utterly blown away by the level of support we have received.’’

Williams says sponsors are coming from all parts of the trail community, including the Queenstown Pedallers, who are pooling resources to sponsor planks, while others are sponsoring on behalf of their family, for business recognition, in memory of a loved one, or as a gift for their kids.

Each sponsor receives a recognition package, including acknowledgement on a plaque being installed at the start of the bridge.

Anyone interested in sponsoring a plank can visit

[email protected]

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