|Minor urban area|
|Territorial authority||Central Hawke's Bay District|
|Population (June 2015 estimate)|
Waipukurau, known locally as just Waipuk, is the largest town in the Central Hawke's Bay District on the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand. It is located on the banks of the Tukituki River, 7 kilometres south of Waipawa and 50 kilometres southwest of Hastings.
Origin and history
Central Hawkes Bay, where the town is located was settled by Te Aitanga a Whatonga, the desecendants of Whatonga, grandson of Toi Kairakau. These were the Ngati Tara and Rangitāne peoples. In the mid 1500s the Ngāti Kahungunu invaded the area from the north and in the subsequent fighting drove the Rangitāne south into the Tahoraiti area (Dannevirke). Warfare continued through the 1600s until the time of Te Rangikoianake. His first child Te Kikiri was adopted by the Ngai Toroiwaho to be their chief - he had mana over the Waipukurau district.
Fighting broke out again in the 1800s at Mangatoetoe between Ngai Te Upokoiri and Ngāti Te Rangikoianake of Poukawa. Several of Te Rangikoianake's grand children were killed in this fight. Pareihe, a Ngati Rangikoianake Chief, avenged the defeat in a battle at Pukekaihau, Waipukurau after which a peace accord was made between the two tribes.
The accord was short lived with the death of Te Wanikau's brother-in-law (Chief of Ngai Te Upokoiri) prompting further conflict over the erection of rahui poles on Lake Poukawa, Ngati Rangikoianake's eel fishing area. The conflict, starting around 1819 and lasting till 1824 ended with the Ngati Rangikoianake and other local tribes evacuating the area and settling at Mahia. In the latter part of the 1820s Pareihe attacked the Ngai Te Upokoiri and regained the lands they had lost, with the Ngai Te Upokoiri taking refuge in the Manawatu. A peace accord was made between Pareihe and the Ngāti Tūwharetoa in the late 1830s. The Ngati Tuwharetoa had been allied with the Ngai Te Upokoiri.
Within the current township is Pukekaihau hill, the site of the Māori pa, from which it gets its name. Waipukurau is said to mean the water of pukerau, wai being water and pukerau being a type of fungus. The pa was near the old Māori trail from the Manawatu Gorge and Hawkes Bay. The first Europeans who are known to have passed through the area were Bishop George Selwyn and Chief Justice Sir William Martin in November 1842 en route to Napier.
In December 1850 Donald McLean and the his party of Land Commissioners meet with the Central Hawkes Bay tribes to discuss purchasing a large block of land for European settlement. Negotiations proceeded through till 4 November 1851 when an area of land called the Waipukurau Block, some 279,000 acres, including the land the town is situated on was acquired from local Maori, led by Te Hapuku for ₤4,800. In 1857 there was an accommodation house run by a Mr Aveson. This was sold in October 1858 to George Lloyd and renamed Lloyds Hotel. The Hotel was transferred again in 1861 becoming Moss's Inn or the Tavistock Hotel. Horse racing started in 1859 with the first recorded meeting on 2 February. The provincial council approved construction of roading from Waipukurau to Porongahau, a goal, and the appointment of a Constable at Waipukurau in 1859. Roading to Forty-mile bush was not commenced until late 1867.
The surrounding land was part of Mount Herbert station and owned by Henry Russell. By at least 1858 Waipukurau was used as a hub for mail delivery to the district, a sale yard for stock, and a court venue. In 1863 land was offered to the Agricultural Society for a show. By 1864 the Presbyterian's were looking to set up a church in Waipukurau. There was a school in town by 1866 but this was closed when the building it used was destroyed by fire that year. The school was replaced in August 1867 by new building which was to serve as both a church and a school. The school had 9 pupils.
Cobb and Co commenced the first coach service to the town in October 1867 and Russell established a model village, which forms much of the present township. A coach road to the south reached Norsewood in December 1873 and the Manawatu Gorge in February 1874. Tenders for a coach service from Waipukurau to Palmerston North were called for in March. The contract was awarded to Andrew Young, whose coach operated from Foxton. On his first journey from Foxton to Waipukurau his coach was intercepted by Alexander MacDonald as he was attempting to cross the Oroua River on former Ngāti Kauwhata land near Schultz's Hotel at Awahuri. MacDonald shot one of the lead horses preventing Young from continuing his journey. MacDonald was a staunch supporter of the Ngāti Kauwhata and had been seeking redress for the dispossession of the tribe from its land on 15 December 1866. MacDonald was imprisoned for three months because of this action, but his action did result in the tribe regaining some 6,200 acres of its land.
In October 1867 a dispute broke out between the residents of Waipukurau and the neighbouring township of Waipawa over the location of a telegraph station. The Provincial Council favoured Waipawa as the location. However, the Government's Telegraph Department preferred Waipukurau due its slightly more central location. The office was opened on 9 June 1868. Several weeks later on 22 June Frederick Christian Schäfer, passed through the town. Schäfer was a global traveller from Carlhafen in Hesse-Cassel who had walked through most of Europe, Palastine, two thirds of the way across the United States, Australia, Japan, China, Batavia, and Sumatra. He walked from Wellington to Waipukurau in 18 days.
One of the first sheep shearing competitions in New Zealand took place at Waipukurau in January 1868. Its purpose was to improve the quality of shearing, As a local response to Te Kooti's escape and conflict on the East Coast, a stockade was erected in late 1869.
Construction of a railway from Napier to Waipukurau commenced in 1872. The target was to complete the line by September 1873. This was not achieved and the line to Waipukurau was opened just three days after Waipawa on 1 September 1876. The link to Palmerston North was not completed until 9 March 1891 due in part to the more difficult country and the impact of the Long Depression.
In December 1858 Waipukurau census area had 243 males and 73 females - a total population of 316. 1,441 acres of land were fenced or cultivated with 95 horses, 364 cattle, and 20,365 sheep. There were also 4 goats and 61 pigs.
Most employment is seasonal related and is dependent on either the local meat processing plant owned by Ovation New Zealand Limited or surrounding local agricultural and horticultural industries.
The town is a farming based community and provides dairy, fruit, vegetable and meat exports.
Through the 1940s-1970s one of the town's main businesses was Denne Bros/Peter Pan Frozen Foods, well known throughout the country for their ice cream brand. The two factories were considered local landmarks. The company was the main employer of Waipukurau, as well the nearby township Waipawa in the 1950s and 1960s.
|Climate data for Waipukurau|
|Average high °C (°F)||23
|Average low °C (°F)||11
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||74
|Source: Weatherbase |
- Johannes "Joh" Bjelke-Petersen, KCMG (13 January 1911 – 23 April 2005), Premier of Queensland (1968-1987)
- Errol Brathwaite - author
- Matt Berquist - professional rugby player
- John Atcherly Cardinal Dew, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Wellington.
- Campbell Johnstone - professional rugby player
- Robert Taylor - guitarist Dragon (band)
- Andrew Williams - Former North Shore mayor
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