The farming community of Taranaki were concerned that when the first Mokau River bridge opened in October 1927 it would also mean an influx of rabbits into the region. An excerpt from the Evening Post on the 19th Oct 1927 expresses the importance felt around this concern.
The gate was erected on the southern end of the bridge in 1928 and was manned by Harold Opie. Mr Opie had previously worked on the construction of the bridge. He lived in a cottage close by and was able to ensure that between the hours of sunset and sunrise it was closed. The red light alerted motorists to its presence. These motorists had to get out and open and close the gate themselves before continuing on their journey.
The rabbits, of course, managed to find alternative routes into Taranaki as there were no barriers to the East or South of the region.
The rabbit gate was eventually dismantled in 1947 and sold to the local Domain Board. Here it was used as the main gates for awhile. The red light from the gate can now be seen at the Mokau Museum.