Sunday, January 01, 2012

Looking back to 1911 ...

The Ohakune Town Board was first elected on August 11, 1908, and had its first meeting a week later.

However, by 1911 Ohakune was growing rapidly and as such a joint committee comprising the Town Board and Chamber of Commerce worked toward the town's constitution as a borough.

Ohakune was proclaimed a borough on November 2, 1911 with the inaugural election of Ohakune's first mayor and council taking place on November 30, two days after the last meeting of the Town Board. Newspapers recount that there was a large turn-out for the elections.

Ohakune Township began as a small settlement alongside the through road from Raetihi to Taumarunui at the junction of the Mangawhero and Mangateitei streams.

The area has been settled since around the 1600s, first by the Ngati Rangi (Sky People) and Ngati Uenuku (Rainbow People) sub-tribes.

In the late 19th century, railway surveyors arrived looking for a route for the Main Trunk Line. Once the area was opened up, saw-millers arrived to take advantage of the abundance of forestry and the availability of rail transport.

Soon after, Chinese market gardeners established the first market gardens in 1925, and later farmers settled to work with the rich volcanic soil in the area. After the war years, land was converted to rehabilitation farms for returning servicemen. In 1984 the Big Carrot was unveiled, in recognition of the importance of market gardening to the local economy.

- Central District Times Last updated 12:25 26/10/2011

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