Eketahuna Pt 2

Beez Neez now Chy Whella
Big Bear and Pepe Millard
Sat 20 Sep 2014 22:57
Eketahuna - Part Two


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1901. The Post Office is opened by Prime Minister Sir Joseph Ward on Bridge Street. The telephone exchange established at the Post Office. Parkville School is renamed Rongokokako School.

1902. Queen Victoria dies. The Boer War ends. St. Aidan Anglican Church opens in Alfredton. Hamua – Huanui Bridge is opened by Rt. Hon. R.J. Seddon, a banquet is given by chief Nireaha in honour of Mr. Seddon. The Mounted Rifles parade in front of the Express building.

1903. The first car arrives.


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1904. The Town Board is formed. The first Town Hall is built. Rongokokako Cheese Factory opens. The Eketahuna Branch of the Bank of New South Wales opens.

1906. Eketahuna Club opens as a ‘Gentlemens Club’. Our Lady of Carmel Catholic Church opens on the hill at Hamua.

1907. Eketahuna becomes a Borough with A.H.Herbert as the first Mayor. The Eketahuna Mounted Rifles receive their colours in Wellington.

1908. The Presbyterian Church is built on Haswell Street. A great bush fire devastates the district. Prohibition is declared. Agnes Markey is born.

1909. Eketahuna Boy Scout Group formed. Eketahuna Volunteer Fire Brigade is formed. Sawmilling begins to decline, farming grows. Electricity comes to Eketahuna via the Power House on Bridge Street.

1910. Eketahuna Golf Club is formed. Milking machines invented. Putara School opens.

1911. Cliff Walk is opened. Samuel Begg visits and gives two drawings to the town. Eketahuna School declared a District School.

1912. Oil strike at Mangaone Valley.

1913. Water Scheme is completed. The third Eketahuna School opens by the railway.

1914. The First World War begins.

1915. Motor coach service begins.




1918. The First World War ends, eighty three men from Eketahuna were killed in the conflict. The Great Influenza Epidemic strikes.

1920. The Prince of Wales passes through

1921. The Fire Brigade Tower is built as a Peace Memorial and supports the fire bell.



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1922. The Anzac Bridge at Kaiparoro is built. The Governor General, Admiral of the Fleet, Lord Jellicoe visits. The Tararau Electric Power Board is formed, taking over the Eketahuna Power House. The Eketahuna Mounted Rifles are merged with Pahiatua C Squadron.

1923. Eketahuna celebrates it’s fiftieth Jubilee.

1924. National Electricity grid established. The Power House is closed and becomes Eketahuna Dairy Company butter factory. The Municipal Chambers are opened on Main Street and also house the library.

1925. A new Parkville bridge on Bridge Street is opened by Prime Minister J.G. Coates.

1926. The Sacred Heart Catholic Church is moved to Anderson Street.

1928. The third school burns down, the primary school children move into the High School building, now the Playcentre.

1929. Eketahuna Radio Station 2ZE is set up by Ponky Allen.

1930. New High School building opens on Albert Street, now part of the present primary school.


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1931. The Eketahuna Jubilee Parade. Showing the Police Station, centre and the Courthouse on the right.

1932. Rongomai, Pleckville and Mangaone Schools close. Radio 2ZE ceases operating. 

1933. 60th Jubilee Celebrations. Lord and Lady Bledisloe visit.

1934. Tane School closes.


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1938. The town Swimming Baths open. Saunders Road School closes.

1939. World War Two begins. The newspaper Eketahuna Express ceases publication. Eketahuna Girl Guides are formed.

1942. Two major earthquakes cause severe damage, many buildings including the Post Office have to be demolished. Almost every house loses its chimney. The loss of the Butter Factory on Bridge Street is a heavy loss for the town. Bill Anderson said:- “The sensation was unforgettable. As though a giant of unexplained power had grabbed our house and was literally shaking it to bits.”




1945. World War Two ends. Twenty one people from Eketahuna and districts have been killed.

1952. A new Our Lady of Carmel Catholic Church is built opposite the original one on the Main Road at Hamua.

1953. The rebuilt War Memorial Hall opens. New tennis courts open on Stanly Street.

1955. A new Fire Station open.


Eketahuna station circa 1956


1956. A picture of the Railway Station. A new bridge is built at Kaiparoro bypassing the Anzac Bridge on the main road. Kakariki School closes.

1957. A new Post Office is opened on Main Street by Keith Holyoake MP.

1958. Elwyn Welch brings takahe to Mount Bruce in an attempt to save this nearly extinct bird species.

1959. Eketahuna District High School closes and the senior primary school pupils use the building, the primary children remain in the Primary School building.

1960. New Maternity Hospital opens on Stanly Street. Tararua College opens in Pahiatua and Eketahuna secondary students are bussed up each day.

1961. Saint John Ambulance building opens.

1962. Putara School closes.

1963. Visit by Peter Snell, whose father had lived in Eketahuna, and Murray Halberg who was born here.

1964. The Town Hall burns down on the night of Anzac Day. V.M.Anderson – Bill, is awarded the MBE.

1965. The town bridge is rebuilt to cope with more, heavier traffic.


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1966. The new Community Centre, built from funds raised by the community, is opened by Prime Minister Keith Holyoake.

1967. Hastwell School closes.

1968. A serious fire destroys shops on Main Street. Marima School closes.

1969. Opening of new shops in Radio Station block.

1971. Newman School closes. 

1972. Hamua, Kanini, Rongokokako and Kaiparoro Schools close.


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1973. Centenary is celebrated. New Police Station opens in Bengston Street.
1975. Borough Council is dissolved, Eketahuna becomes a ‘Community’ within the County. Sir Keith Holyoake as Governor General visits.
1977. Herberts General Store closes.
1978. Eketahuna Scholl centenary is celebrated.
1979.  New classrooms are added to the school at Albert Street to accommodate the juniors, as the junior school closes. The primary school is united. The old junior school becomes the Manual Training Centre and Playcentre.
1983. A new Sacred Heart Church is built on Haswell Street. The National Wildlife Centre Trust is formed.
1985. The National Wildlife Centre opens at Mount Bruce.
1986. Eketahuna Art Group hold their first exhibition, it is opened by Rt. Hon. John Falloon MP for the electorate.
1987. Lotto comes to Eketahuna at the Post Office.
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1988. Eketahuna Health Centre opens, it is the first nurse led practice in New Zealand. The Community Store opens. Our Lady of Carmel Church at Hamua closes and becomes a private residence.
1989. Eketahuna Post Office closes. The County Council is dissolved and Eketahuna becomes a ward in the Tararua District. ‘It’s in the Bag’ comes to Eketahuna, hosted by John Hawkesby and Hillary Timmins.
1990. Margaret Parsons is awarded the New Zealand 1990 Commemorative Medal for Community Services. A time capsule is buried beside the kiwi.


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1994. The new playground is opened by Sonya Davies.

1995. The new playground is opened

1996. The old Catholic Church on Anderson Street is demolished. The swing bridge is washed away in a flood.

1997. The new all weather tennis courts are opened beside the Rugby Club on Alfredton Road.

1998. Eketahuna celebrates its 125th Jubilee.

2000. Eketahuna celebrates the new millennium with a street party.

2001. Petrol station burns down. Nireaha School closes.

2002. The Manual Training-Technology block is closed children bussed up to the new district technology block at Tararua College.

2003. New Community Gas Station is opened by Agnes Markey.

2005. Descendant of Tara open Whanau whare – house; Ngai Tara, Rangitane, Kahungunu fires burn again. Eketahuna community web site established.


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2006. The Giant Kiwi facade is built on Main Street, and the Eketahuna Kiwi Country Information Centre is opened. Eketahuna postage stamp launched.

2007. Eketahuna Our Town Committee win the Trustpower Regional Supreme Volunteer Award. And richly deserved. Hear, Hear.



2008. Agnes Markey, Eketahuna’s oldest resident celebrates her 100th birthday. Eketahuna Our Town Committee launch their history and wildlife room. 


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What a full, varied and interesting timeline. We cannot thank the town committee and those that helped put the town history together in the information room. Well done to you all. We love Eketahuna and every tourist to North Island should come and see you. In fact every tourist to New Zealand should come and see you.










                    LOVELY, COMFORTABLE TOWN