Story: Whanganui places

Page 4. East of Whanganui

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Parapara Road

Road completed in 1917 from Whanganui to Raetihi, now a section of State Highway 4, which follows the Mangawhero River for much of its course.

Lismore Forest

Forest 16 km north-east of Whanganui. Exotic tree planting – mainly radiata pine – began here in 1963 in the 4,848-hectare Crown forest. In the 2010s cutting rights were held by Rayonier, an American firm.


Locality on the Mangawhero River, 40 km from Whanganui. It is the only remaining kāinga (Māori village) of many that were once on the Parapara Road. Ōtoko’s marae is a southern stronghold of the Ringatū faith. The meeting house was first built in 1870.


Locality on the eastern bank of the Mangawhero River, 57 km north-east of Whanganui. From here Fields Track (a road) runs east to the Whangaehu Valley Road, then north to State Highway 49 near Karioi. It is named after H. C. Field, who explored and surveyed the district between 1869 and the 1880s.

Mangawhero River

River rising on the south-west slopes of Mt Ruapehu and flowing south to join the Whangaehu River near Ngāturi. The river has two scenic falls: Mangawhero, near the Tūroa skifield, and Raukawa, about 2 km north of Kākātahi.


Valley and farming locality at the junction of the Mangamāhū Stream and the Whangaehu River, 45 km north-east of Whanganui. The hotel and store closed in the 1970s, but the school remains an important focus for the community. Ngāturi bridge on the Mangawhero River collapsed in July 2006, cutting road access to the Mangamāhū valley for several weeks.


Fordell, 13 km east of Whanganui, has had a school and a hotel since 1883, and weekly stock sales have been held since 1929. The district has a number of historic homesteads. Oneida homestead is a Gothic-revival house designed by George Allen and built in 1869–70 for J. A. H. Burnett, who may have visited the utopian socialist community of Oneida in the United States.


Locality on the Whangaehu River, 23 km north-east of Whanganui. Kauangaroa , the marae of Ngā Wairiki, was visited by the prophetic leader Te Kooti in 1890. The pā and surrounding valley were deluged in the February 2004 floods.


Locality 6 km south-east of Whanganui, with four small lakes. Lakes Kaitoke and Kōhata are wildlife sanctuaries and Wiritoa is popular for recreation. Wanganui Prison is located near Lake Pauri.

Swamped by sand

As sand has built up along the coast, the shoreline has gradually moved westwards. The Fusilier was stranded in 1884 near the mouth of the Turakina River. By the 1980s its wreck was embedded in sand many metres up the beach. It is now completely buried.


Locality 11 km south-east of Whanganui. A blockhouse – still there in the 21st century – was built by settler John Cameron in 1868. Kiwifruit were first grown in New Zealand at the Allison family homestead, from seed brought from China in 1904 by Isabel Fraser, principal of Wanganui Girls’ College.


Settlement 15 km south-east of Whanganui. It was severely flooded when the Whangaehu River burst its banks in February 2004 and July 2006. Floods of similar magnitude had also struck in April 1897. There is a Ngāti Apa marae on the road to Whangaehu beach.


Township 19 km south-east of Whanganui and 1.5 km off State Highway 3, with a 2013 population of 327, over 95% of whom identified themselves as Māori. It is the spiritual centre of the Rātana faith, founded by Tahupōtiki Wiremu Rātana in the 1920s. The temple at Rātana, with its distinctive twin towers, was built between 1926 and 1928. Each year on 25 January, T. W. Rātana’s birthday, the population swells with adherents of the faith. Rātana has a conference centre, Te Manuao, and a museum containing wheelchairs, crutches and spectacles discarded by people healed by the prophet.


Township 21 km south-east of Whanganui, which developed after the Crown purchase of the Rangitīkei Block in 1849. The first European settlers were Gaelic-speaking Scots, and Caledonian Games have been an annual event since 1864. Turakina Māori Girls’ College was located in the township until 1928. From 1876 to 1925 Turakina was known as Lethbridge, after a local settler. The Lethbridge family property, Ann Bank, was the site of New Zealand’s first children’s health camp in 1919. The nearby beach village, Kōitiata, was built in the 1920s. On the road to it is Ngāti Apa’s Tini-wai-tara marae and the Anglican church Te Mangungu.

How to cite this page:

Diana Beaglehole, 'Whanganui places - East of Whanganui', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 23 June 2024)

Story by Diana Beaglehole, published 16 Jun 2008, updated 15 Jun 2015