history & heritage
The remoteness and resistance by Maori made this area one of the last to be settled in New Zealand. The first major European influences came in the 1840's with missionaries on the southern reaches of the Whanganui River. The completion of the Main Trunk railway in 1908 improved access to markets for the logging, sawmilling, farming and horticulture industries.
The Bridge to Nowhere on the Whanganui River was built in 1936 and stands as a memorial to the abandoned dreams of returning WW1 servicemen that settled in the remote Mangapurua and Kaihakauka Valleys under a government programme, to transform the forest into farmland. Though initially prosperous, these farmers left their land, due to the difficult access for trading and the onset of the Great Depression.
Passengers boarding the stage coach at Waimarino (now National Park) travelling to Ohakune - 1906