Story: Communes and communities

Ahu Ahu ohu, around 2010

Ahu Ahu ohu, around 2010

Thistles and bush grow up around the old community building at the abandoned Ahu Ahu ohu, in a remote area on a tributary of the Whanganui River. The government's ohu scheme, which allowed communities to settle on Crown-owned land, was announced in 1973. However, the initiative lost one of its main proponents with the death of Prime Minister Norman Kirk the following year. Groups struggled to find suitable land, and only about eight ohu were ever established. Ahu Ahu survived until about 2000, despite difficulties with access and other problems. Pākehā settlers had attempted to farm the area from the late 19th century, but walked off the land in the 1930s when floods destroyed the access road. In 1999 the ohu's land was returned to the Department of Conservation.

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Department of Conservation
Photograph by Connie Norgate

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How to cite this page:

Caren Wilton, 'Communes and communities - Communes: 1960s and 1970s', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 14 June 2024)

Story by Caren Wilton, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 4 Apr 2018