Rainbow over Linton, Manawatu

Driving back from the Manawatu today, we were lucky enough to encounter our second rainbow of the day. This one was particularly spectacular, set against the dusky blue-grey of the Tararua Ranges, and the dark rain cloud-filled sky. This one “ended” among a cluster of regenerating indigenous trees (possibly totara) on fields on the Manawatu River terraces just south of the Linton Army Camp turn-off [click here to view location]. Continue reading

Paekakariki: perch of the green parrot

This signal box on the Paekakariki Railway Station platform tells of an illustrious history of a small coastal town intimately linked with the railway. The railway station dates from 1886 when the Wellington and Manawatu Railway Company’s line from Wellington to Longburn was completed. The railway runs alongside the state highway, the Paekakariki to Porirua segment of which was completed nearly four decades before, in 1849. Both transport links run through a narrow corridor of flat land wedged between steep hills to the east and the sea and old dune-lands to the west [click here to view map]. The town itself lies on a narrow band of undulating dune-lands, contributing to its slightly idiosyncratic character; its name, meaning “perch of the kakariki parrot” in Maori, seems particularly apt. Continue reading

The opening up of the Manawatu – the “waste land of the Colony”

As Lois Hall outlines in her history of the Pohangina Valley, large areas of open grassland such as those found in Canterbury and eastern Hawkes Bay had been quickly settled in the 1840s and 1850s, mainly by more wealthy settlers. But by the latter part of the nineteenth century, the government turned its focus to the provision of land for the settlement of those of lesser means and the descendants of the original settlers who sought to own their own farms. Attention turned to regions that were still forested and undeveloped, such as the Manawatu and western Hawkes Bay. Continue reading