LIKE ALL main towns strung from north to south
through Wairarapa and Tararua, Pahiatua has its own truly distinct
Travellers from the north head to the town via
Mangatainoka. Shortly thereafter they find a yellow World War
II Harvard closing in on them. Its a sure
sign the motorist has reached Pahiatua, former stamping ground
of PM Sir Keith Holyoake.
If they head in from the south they pass by the
simple Polish memorial, like some giant white dinosaur bone,
beside the road. This marks the site of a Polish childrens
camp begun in 1944. Originally the Pahiatua racecourse, this
camp was a home for 733 children, wartime refugees from Poland
till the camp was closed in 1952.
Whenever the sun shines on this monument its
shadow resembles a mother and child. The yellow Harvard became
a childrens slide, part of a playground in the centre
of the main street. The town as a whole is divided into two
one-way systems with lawns, flowerbeds and shrubs dividing them.
This layout was devised at a time when planners
believed the railway would pass through Pahiatua town centre;
in true American frontier style. But in the end the rail passsed
by on the west. Then the central area was given over to gardens
which give the town a style all its own.
Pahiatua has become a favourite stopping place
for travellers and many enjoy their picnics in the Main Street
Gardens or opt for the delicious fare found in cafes and restaurants.
In short the town has become a focus of a district
worth exploring at leisure.
The Main Street information centre will clue you
up on attractions this district has to offer.
In particular Pahiatua rivers (The 5 Ms) are
known throughout New Zealand. In their cool deep pools lurk
fine brown trout and fishing is pleasurable for most of these
waterways are easily accessible and largely uncrowded.
For much of the year these top class fishing
spots are undiscovered territory. Their names are legendary:
Makuri, Mangahao, Mangatainoka, Makakahi and Manawatu.
Within half an hours drive youll
find 200 kilometres of fishable water.
At the end of October the reign of peace is dispelled.
Anglers come from far and wide for the annual week-long trout
Townsfolk and visitors rub shoulders at a market
day characterised by its colourful entertainments, live music
and retail stalls with bargains for everyone.
Pahiatua Museum in Sedcole Street opens on Sunday
afternoons or by arrangement. Here youll find donated
historical items and a fine pictorial display showing the Polish
childrens arrival in 1944
A number of homes open their meticulously-kept
gardens for an appreciative public. For those who wander further
afield there are fascinating walks; notably the Makuri Gorge
Walk and Tararua Walks reached from known access points.
The accommodation is geared to individual and
family needs and a gamut of opportunities are offered by motels,
homestays, farmstays, backpackers lodges and budget-conscious