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 who 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 who had to get out and open and close the gate again before they could continue their journey.
The rabbits of course managed to find alternative routes into Taranaki as there were no barriers to the East or South.
The rabbit gate was eventually dismantled in 1947 and sold to the local Domain Board where it was used as the main gates. The red light from the gate can be seen at the Mokau Museum.