Puhi Puhi / Hapuku River Bridge ghosts – South Island


There are stories that tell of the lonely figure of a person standing on the bridge that overlooks the intersecting Puhi Puhi and Hāpuku Rivers, near Kaikōura.

There have been numerous deaths in this region, through the earlier years of the 1900s up until more recently; from river drownings, to motor vehicle tragedies, along this lengthy strip of New Zealand State Highway 1 which snakes it’s way down the South Island east coast.

The Puhi Puhi River is a river of the Marlborough Region. It flows southwest, roughly paralleling the Pacific Ocean coast, from its source 12 kilometres west of the mouth of the Clarence River, and reaches its outflow into the Hāpuku River 5 kilometres from the latter’s mouth at Hāpuku.

The Hāpuku River begins in the Seaward Kaikōura Range of New Zealand and flows south-east to enter the South Pacific at Hāpuku, between Clarence and Kaikōura. The name comes from the Māori word hāpuku or hāpuka, a deep-water marine fish. Its main tributary is the Puhi Puhi River. At the intersection of these two rivers is the State Highway 1 bridge.

Drivers have reported a figure (possibly a woman) in white standing alone on the bridge in the darkness looking mournfully out towards the river. Hikers and cyclists traversing this area have also heard what sounds like voices, or someone “calling out”.

I remember a story from a local fisherman, sitting on the bank one day, seeing what he claimed was a person (possibly a woman) crossing the river from left to right. However, the river level had recently increased due to recent heavy rain and there was no way a person could’ve just walked across at that point. The most unusual part of the description, was that the figure was apparently walking at about knee depth. Where, at that level the water should’ve been well over their head. An impossible crossing at that time according to the witness. The figure disappeared from view when reaching the other side.

Could this be the ghost of someone that had drowned in the river?

Hapuku River

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