Raetihi is situated on almost level ground near the upper reaches of the Mangawhero River. The surrounding country is hilly. The town is 9 miles west of Ohakune by road. A branch railway line from Raetihi links with the main trunk line at Ohakune. The main highway between Wanganui, 57 miles south-west, and Taumarunui, 49 ½ miles north, passes through Raetihi. National Park is 22 miles north-east.
The main farming activities of the district are semi-extensive sheep raising, cattle fattening, dairying, and some market gardening. The dense native forests which once covered the district have largely been cleared. Logging and milling, however, still continue. It was estimated in 1961 that the millable native timber would be exhausted in about 20 years. Raetihi is primarily a trade and servicing centre for the surrounding district. The main industries of the town are butter making, sawmilling, and general engineering. A milk treatment plant in Raetihi serves a large area. There are two stock saleyards in the town.
POPULATION: 1951 census, 1,153; 1956 census, 1,186; 1961 census, 1,344.
by Brian Newton Davis, M.A., Vicar, St. Philips, Karori West, Wellington and Edward Stewart Dollimore, Research Officer, Department of Lands and Survey, Wellington.