Whangamomona

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Whangamomona
Whangamomona is located in Taranaki Region
Whangamomona
Whangamomona
Coordinates: 39°8′37″S 174°44′13″E / 39.14361°S 174.73694°E / -39.14361; 174.73694
CountryNew Zealand
RegionManawatu-Wanganui Region
DistrictStratford District
Whangamomona Hotel.

Whangamomona Coordinates: 39°8.6′S 174°44.2′E / 39.1433°S 174.7367°E / -39.1433; 174.7367 is a small township in the Stratford District and Manawatu-Wanganui Region in New Zealand. It lies on State Highway 43, the "Forgotten World Highway", 65 kilometres (40 mi) north-east of Stratford and 55 kilometres (34 mi) south-west of Ohura. By rail it is 61 kilometres (38 mi) from Stratford on the Stratford-Okahukura railway line.[1]

History[edit]

The first settlers arrived in 1895, with the town proper established some 2 years later.[2] Growth of the town was seriously affected by the loss of 51 men (including the smaller nearby settlements of Kohuratahi and Tahora)[3] in the First World War and a major flood in 1924.[2] The town recovered with arrival of the railway line in 1933 and electrification in 1959.[2] However the town went into decline again and the school closed in 1979, followed 9 years later by the post office.[2]

Republic Day[edit]

In 1989 regional council boundaries were redrawn, with an emphasis on connected catchments. These revised maps made Whangamomona part of the Manawatu-Wanganui Region. Residents objected, as they wanted to continue being part of the Taranaki Region, and on 1 November 1989, they responded by declaring themselves the "Republic of Whangamomona" at the first Republic Day. Though the move began as a pointed protest, the town continued to hold a celebratory Republic Day once a year, during which a vote for President was held. The day has become a local festival day, and attracts visitors from throughout the North Island. In 2001, the celebration became biennial, held in January to take advantage of the summer weather.

Presidents[edit]

Ian Kjestrup (1989–1999)
After being put on the ballot without his knowledge, he became the first elected President. Served 10 years.[citation needed]

Billy Gumboot the Goat (1999–2001)
First elected animal. He won election by a landslide. Although some residents speculate he ate the other challengers' ballots in order to win. He died in office after serving for 18 months.[citation needed]

Tai the Poodle (2003–2004)
Tai retired after he was attacked by a Mastiff, but some speculate it was an assassination attempt. Though he survived the attack he was left unfit for service and died in 2010.[4]

Murt "Murtle the Turtle" Kennard (2005–2015)
The local garage owner fought off strong competition from former president Kjestrup and a cross-dresser called "Miriam" to become the 4th President. He was re-elected in 2009 by one vote. He was re-elected again in 2011 by a landslide.[5] He died at New Plymouth Hospice on 25 October 2015.[6]

Vicki Pratt (2015–2017)
First female president appointed for Whangamomona republic. The local publican was "somehow picked while working in the kitchen". [7]

John Herlihy (2017–present) Herlihy was elected ahead of Jack Spearow, Lili Jiao (who wanted to be a cat) and Ted (who was already a cat), despite reported attempts by Mr Spearow to steal ballots.[8] On Republic Day 2019 (January 19) President Herlihy was returned for a second term, having fought off challenges from Maketoni the teddy bear, Sherman the cockatoo, Eunice the sheep, Griff Robb (who proposed that the land-locked nation should enter into maritime tourism) and a Mrs Brown look-alike at the polls. Controversy surrounded the election due to the disappearance of candidate Eunice the sheep, with commentators noting that mutton sandwiches were for sale at the Republic barbecue.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wises New Zealand Guide, 7th Edition, 1979. p. 506.
  2. ^ a b c d Stratford Press: Two decades and counting in Whangamomona
  3. ^ War Memorial Cenotaph: Ohura Rd, Kohuratahi
  4. ^ "Top dog: The rise, fall and alleged assassination attempt of a poodle President".
  5. ^ Harper, Laird (24 January 2011). "Vote-rigging part of the fun of Republic Day". Taranaki Daily News. Retrieved 3 December 2011.
  6. ^ "Hundreds flock to farewell president". Stuff. Retrieved 2015-10-28.
  7. ^ Burroughs, David (25 November 2015). "First female president appointed for Whangamomona republic". Taranaki Daily News. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
  8. ^ Verdonk, Sieska (22 January 2017). "Whangamomona wakes up to new president... and he's nice!". New Zealand Herald.
  9. ^ "Whangamomona President sees off all challengers". Radio New Zealand. 21 January 2019.

Further reading[edit]

  • Opening of the road to Aotuhia: tour of the Stratford County hill country, organised by the Stratford County and the Dept. of Land and Survey (New Plymouth), Stratford, [N.Z.]: Stratford County Council, 1985
  • Church, Ian N. (1990), The Stratford inheritance: a history of Stratford and the Whangamomona counties, Waikanae, [N.Z.]: Heritage Press, ISBN 0-908708-17-3
  • Garcia, James (1940), History of Whangamomona County: published by the Whangamomona Centennial Celebrations Committee as a centennial memorial and dedicated to the pioneer settlers of the district, New Plymouth, [N.Z.]: Whangamomona Centennial Celebrations Committee