Home

Attractions
Accommodation & Dining
Maori History
Settler History
Historical Sites of Interest
Businesses
Community Services & Groups
Sports
Notice Board
Maps
Contact Us
Home » Historical Sites of Interest

History

SITES OF INTEREST

St. Cuthbert's Anglican Church

The foundation stone for Saint Cuthbert's Anglican Church was laid in October 1898 on the building's present site in Church Street, Eketahuna. Thomas Moss and his team worked swiftly to complete the building, and the opening service took place in February 1899. The vicarage in Haswell Street was built in 1906 and the new vicarage in Church Street in 1959. The Sunday School was built in 1906 and then replaced by the present Lockwood Hall in 1960. Saint Aidan's Church at Alfredton was opened in 1902.

Anzac Bridge

Just north of the Pukaha Mt Bruce Wildlife Centre on the west side of State Highway 2 lies the Anzac Bridge monument. It was built by a local resident Alfred Falkner as a memorial to the local people who served in WW1, and also because there was a real need for a bridge at that spot, as fording the Makakahi River could be dangerous after rain.

The bridge opened in December 1922 and the plaques were unveiled on Anzac Day 1923. After WW2 further names were added. In 1956 a new bridge was built but thanks to local appeals the Anzac Bridge was preserved as a memorial.  Annual services are held here and a walkway runs from the Miller Reserve to the bridge. 

Sacred Heart Catholic Church

The original Sacred Heart Church was built on Bridge Street on land leased from Mr A H Herbert. On the 29th of March 1898 Irish priest Fr. John McKenna came to Eketahuna and pegged out the site. The main portion of the building was 30 feet by 26 feet to seat 150 people - the sanctuary was added later. The estimated cost of the building was 200 pounds - it was unlined and had no decoration.

In 1926, the church was shifted to Anderson Street, and in 1939 the Presbytery was built next door. In 1983 the present Sacred Heart Church Centre was opened on Haswell Street and in 1996 the old Sacred Heart Church was pulled down.

In 1906, Our Lady of Carmel Church opened on the hill at Hamua, on land given to the church by Chief Nireaha Tamaki who lived on the pa there. In 1952, the new Our Lady of Carmel Church opened on a new site opposite the original one and by the main road at Hamua. In 1988 this church was sold and converted to a private residence.

More information can be found in the publication 'Sacred Heart 1898 - 1998 100 years on Eketahuna'.

Coach Road

This is a remnant of the original road from Masterton to Eketahuna, completed in 1873 by the Scandinavian settlers. By 1875 the road had stretched to Woodville. It took two days to make the journey from Masterton to Woodville, so Eketahuna became an important stopover for passengers. Further sections of the old road are visible on local farmland.

Fire Brigade Tower

The Fire Brigade tower was built in 1921 as Eketahuna's peace memorial. Before the siren took over, the bell at the top was rung to call the volunteers to come and fight a fire. At the base, behind the kiwi, is a plaque with the names of those Eketahuna firemen who fought in the First World War.

Kaiparoro Historic House Museum
Please see under attractions for details

Otukirihau
This is a pa site on the terrace above the Newman Domain, dating back to the 16th century. It was no longer occupied when the European settlers arrived.

The Railway

The first train came to Eketahuna in 1889. For eight years Eketahuna was a busy terminus as it was the end of the line, and goods and passengers were met and dropped off by coaches on their way to and from Woodville and Napier. By 1897 the line was fully open to Woodville, but Eketahuna Station still remained busy for many years.

The railway line still runs through Eketahuna, but unfortunately in recent times the station has been lost and there are no longer any passenger or goods services to be had.

Schools

The first Eketahuna school was built on land donated by Mr Bengston in 1878. It comprised a large school room at the front and the headmaster's residence at the back. This dwelling is now a private residence in Bengston Street.

The original school soon became too small and a separate school was built next door in 1884, with the first school remaining as the teacher's residence. Eventually this school too became inadequate for the growing population, and a new school was built in 1913, on Herbert Street land, near the railway station. The second school eventually became a manual training centre, it is now the museum in Bengston Street.

Not many years later the new school proved not big enough again, so another building was built close by to house the high school pupils. This building is the current Playcentre.

In 1928, the primary section of the school was destroyed by fire, so the primary pupils moved into the high school block and a second high school block was built in Albert Street. It opened in 1930, and now forms part of the current primary school.

When the District High School closed at the end of 1959, this building was used to house the senior primary school children. The High School pupils were now bussed up to Pahiatua to the new Tararua College.


Eketahuna Primary School 

The site in Albert Street was developed further with new classrooms added, and in 1979 the junior primary school pupils joined the seniors at the 'top school' to make one school on one site.

Half of the 'bottom' school was used as a manual training centre and technology block for the primary school until 2002, when the senior Eketahuna pupils began to be bussed up to the new district technology block at Tararua College for these activities. The other half was developed as the Eketahuna Playcentre which it still is today.
Eketahuna Playcentre     

Country Schools

In earlier times most small settlements had their own school, but with a diminishing rural population and the advent of good roads and school buses, most of these small country school have closed and their children bussed to the larger schools.

Some of the first schools to close back in the 1930s were Rongomai, Pleckville, Mangaone, Tane and Saunder's Road. Kakariki closed in 1956, and in the 1960's Putara, Hastwell and Marima also closed. The 1970's saw Newman, Hamua, Kaiparoro and Rongokokako close. Nireaha School closed in 2001.

Apart from Eketahuna Primary School, the only other schools still operating in our district are Alfredton and Tiraumea.

Taniwha

Legend has it there is a taniwha in the Ngatakahe River who gets angry if too many eels are taken!

Waiwaka

Te Waiwaka, just south of Eketahuna, is the site where Maori camped in pre-European days. It is also the site where the first Scandinavian settlers to Eketahuna camped while they made the road to Eketahuna and their blocks of land.

War Memorial Hall

The Eketahuna War Memorial Hall was built in memory of those local people who died in the First World War. After the Second World War, sadly, more names were added. The War Memorial Hall is the site of local commemorations on Anzac Day each year.

We would like to thank Russell Gaskin for his assistance with this page.

Back to top

  website design