Story: King Country region

The last spike

The development of the main trunk railway line through the King Country from the 1880s was a crucial event in the region's history. It signalled the beginning of the end of the region's independence from the government, and opened the way for European settlement. On 6 November 1908 Prime Minister Joseph Ward drove the last railway spike into the land in a symbolic gesture which marked the joining of the line from the south with that from the north, and the completion of the line between Wellington and Auckland. In fact, the line was not quite finished – rails were still being laid across the nearby Manganuioteao viaduct during the ceremony.

Ward was presented with this sterling-silver spike to mark the occasion. There is also a last-spike monument on State Highway 4, between Erua and Pōkākā.

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Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
Reference: GH004700

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How to cite this page:

Kerryn Pollock, 'King Country region - Overview', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/zoomify/34824/the-last-spike (accessed 20 June 2019)

Story by Kerryn Pollock, updated 30 Mar 2015