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TOWN OF RAETIHI

INTERESTING AND PROSPEROUS INLAND TOWN

ATTRACTIONS FOR SETTLERS, SPORTSMEN, AND TOURISTS. A DISTRICT OF GREAT POSSIBILITIES. Kaetihi is a prosperous inland town eight miles from the Main Trunk Railway, and is sened by a branch railway. The port of Wanganui is the natural inlet and outlet for Kaetihi and districts adjacent tv the lower portions of the Main Trunk Railway.

Thirty years ago the township of Rac- [ tihi did not exist. At that time it was all covered with virgin bush, and it was in the year lSfl2 that the first piece of bush was clearer! and the first whare erected. Since that time Raetihi and the surrounding district have never looked back, excepting duriug that memorable year 1018, when it suffered severely from the effects of a heavy snow storm, and the whole country was swept by the disastrous conflagration of that year. Kaetihi, too, though placed as it is at such a high altitude did not escape that dreadful scourge— the epidemic. In the local cemetery can 'be seen the graves of some 30 residents vho departed this life from that cause. But in sjpite of the interruption of that year, it soon recovered from, the setback of 191S, and to-day it is without doubt one of the most progressive

Tlip Waiinnrino Sports and ( aledoniar "lul> is a very live institution, and is conducted by real live sports. Eacl .ear very successful snorts are helc icfore several thousand spectators. Golf, bowls, lenni?, hnckey', football cricket are among the other rormi if sport that are indulged in extensivpli it Kaetihi, and they all have wel organised clubs. Haetihi's climate is of the very best md all plant life, vegetable, fruit tree ir shrub placed in the ground thrive! .vonderfully. Knetihi is yet only in its Infancy, ant :his will be proved'as soon as the lane which is now being deprived of its tiinhei s ready for the plough and other agTi •uHural implements. fiOOD DATRVIXG COUNTRY. In a few year it is safe to prediel that this district, particularly the land; surrounding Raetihi and O'nakune, wil be valuable dairying country. Tlu Kaetihi Co-operative Dairy Company v now in a very flourishing condition ant ■o far has had a good season. For the reason 1020-21 the output was 48 tonof butter. Ip to tlie time of writing the output has been 70 tons. The com pany has two motor lorries engftgec ?olleeting cream, and this i s brought into the Raetihi factory by that means from a radius of about 20 miles. Th« butter is graded at !):?, and out of th< 56 factories in the Wellington province

As soon as one arrives at the hill looking towards the town on the Ohakune-Raetihi-Pipiriki Koad and catchee the first glimpse of Raetihi, one is struck with the prosperous and businesslike air about the place. The town is well laid jjut, and everything is up-to-date, and it gives one an impression that it is a thriving centre of the great agricultural, pastoral and industrial centre. This is exactly what Raetihi ia, for it has an up-to-date post office, controlled by Postmaster A. A. Chettenden, and telephone exchange, the service of which is continuous. There are now 212 subscribers, and about 30 or 40 are waiting to be connected up. There is in the town every other possible business advantage that is needed. The business men of the town are keen, and so are those at the head of affairs, and it is safe to predict that when things Tight themselves once more there will be a great future for this enterprising inland centre of the Waimarino County. Since the date of the formation of the first Town Board, on November 21st, 1912, the population of Raetihi has increased from 300 to over 1100 people. The Town Board no longer exists, for in the latter part of last year the town •was gazetted a borough. A Mayor ajid nine councillors were elected, and it is they who watch and look after the borough affairs." The election was keenly contested, and resulted in Mr. T. A. Harris toeing elected the first Mayor of Raetihi. The councillors are: Messrs. A. W. Aswell (Deputy-Mayor), R. R. Dawson, R. Sigley, \V. H. Sandford, W. Harris, A. J. Whidle, H. Jenkins, W. H. iittlcvrood, and T. Shout. This body meets once in each month, and Mr. Lucas is the town clerk, and Mr. Harvey electrical engineer. To-day there is n n t a single house vacant in the 'borouzli, and though at the present time building is particularly slack a few more houses could be readily let if erected. The town has a splendid electric light Service, and the drainage and water supply are good. Within a radius oi, about four miles there are some 20 sawmills, and these, when working full time, put out thousands and thousands of feet of timber per week. Unfortunately at the time of writing this several of the mills in the district are closed temporarily. This has been brought about by the small demand and not, as some people suggest, an attempt on the part of the owners of the mills to bring down wages. Since the opening of the railway on Tuesday. December ]8, 1918, by the Right Hon. W. F. >Maseey, Prime Minister, Raetihi has made rapid strides, and the imports and exports, including timber, wool, butter and stock are enormous. The railway station is now quite up-to-date, and further improvements are feeing carried out for the convenience of those Tailing stock. Mr. R. Tinsley ie the stationmaster in charge. The unimproved vajue of the old town district was £97,000. To-day it is £104,554. In 1002 the gross capital value of the Waimarino County was £508,277, and to-day it is over £2,000,000. The county is a vast district and comprises 945 square miles of beautiful country. To-day Raetihi is in the happy position of lacking nothing. The beaudful new hospital (though not yet opened) stands on a rise at the southern end >j-~. the town and has a most commanding view. Towards this thu district subscribed about £1500 a few years ago, and recently the townspeople, realising that money would be necessary for minor improvements to the grounds, etc., maue a great effort to raise a further sum of money. A gala, day was arranged and money was extracted from the people in all sorts of ways. The result of a few weeks' work was the sum of £1100 placed to the credit of the local committee—a grand effort, indeed, for a grander cause. The public school has recently been added to, and the building is now quite up-to-date and a credit to the town. The number on the school roll is about 270, and ihese are guided on the right part by an efficient staff of teachers, the headmaster being Mr. F. J. McKay. The grounds about the school are well laid out and neatly'kept by the children, who take a keen interest in the school and its surroundings. Sport of all kinds can be obtained in E.aetihi, and the only one that Is not thriving at the present is the Waimarino Racing Club. This is due to the faot that the Racing Commission's report was not adopted by Parliament, and the club was not granted a tote permit. The club went to the expense .of buying a freehold property at Makaranui, half •way between Ohakune and Raetihi, and though a racing permit has been granted oy the Racing Conference the committee think it inadvisable to commence racmtr without the totalisator. Probably when ssESsa irsmx* Mr. P. C, Murray is president.

the local butter is graded 10th on the list. The product of the factory is I mainly exported to Wellington, where it j is sold locally. Some is shipped as far I North as Auckland, and northerners have spoken in high terms of its excellence. The number of suppliers at present is 120, and Mr. T. Atkinson is # the manager, and Mr. H. Jenkins is secretary of the company.

WAIMARINO COUNTY COUNCIL

Tin , . 'YVaimarino County was constituted in l!>0-2, and the headquarters of the Council are at Raetihi. The County then comprised an area of about 1315 square miles, and the capital value was then £700.000. In 1011 about one-third of the area was cut off, and incorporated J with the Kaitieke County, and to-day it includes about 000. with a capital value of over £2,000.000. Trie Council is pursuing a progressive policy, and whenever money U available for expenditure j no time is lost in getting presession and carrying out the work for which it has been allocated. At present there are several contracts in progress. The great needs of the distret is good metalled roads, in ordqr that our hinterlands mi<rht be opened up ami the settlers who are now "away back" given an opportunity to make more periodical visits to Raetihi—rtheir natural etock centre. The first chairman of the Council was the late Mr. Peter Bras 3, whose demise was announced about twelve months ago. The present chairman ie Mr. Peter Murray, and he is- supported by Councillors J. Morton, D. D. McLean, T. McArtha, Jas. Macdonald, F. Todd, and W. Pirie. Mr. A. Mabbott is the county clerk, and Mr. H. L. Hogg the engineer

RAETIHI SOCIAL LIFE.

I There is no lack of social institutions in Raetihi. In addition to the various sports bodies, the town has a Gentlemen's Club, the membership of which is over 100. The club has its own premises in Queen Street, adjacent to the business part of the town. In the same street is the FarmeTs' Institute, and this is used extensively by farmers and their wives when visiting , TUetihi.

THE BACK COUNTRY.

WAIMARINO A.P.H. AND I. ASSOCIATION.

WOOL AND MEAT. GREAT SvTAMvE INDUSTRIE*. Apart from what may Vie said for other industries of the town and district, the great staple industries are wool and meat-producing, and upon these the prosperity of the district mainly depends. Production in these industries lias been considerable in the jpast. but as nothing compared with the I possibilities for the future. The copiloiifi rainfall, together with the natural j fertility of the ensured a plentiful 'growth of grass. The huge area surrounding the town will, when all is brought into cultivation, support an enormous number of stock. So plentiful is the growth of grass in the Wuimarino in the summer months that farmers have found liifneuHy in keeping the land sufficiently blocked, while in some districts the farmers' main difficulty is to find feed to support the stock they have. It is not to be supposed that the winter-carrying capacity of Waimarino land is jrreater than that of land in lesser altitudes for on account of the greater altitude of the country, particularly about Kaetihi. the farmers find it necessary to grow root crops and other v inter feed. For these crops, however, the soil is eminently suited, and no part of New Zealand has produced hetter root crops than this high country. LAND VALVES RIC.HT. This country has an advantage over a good many other districts at the present time of being on the market at a price which is most reasonable by comparison with certain otlvr lands. The present average value of \Vaimariiio farming land in grass is about £10 per aicre. The carrying capacity of Him land, it is claimed, is equal to that of land for which from £10 to £20 per J acre is readily paid in other districts. I From these figures it will he seen th.it I the only disadvantage suffered by the I Waimarino farmers is the rost of carrying produce to the market, and this icost is infinitesimal when compared with I the relative ruling prices. I Sheep and cattle raised in the Waijmarino district thrive, and are exceptionally healthy. Outbreaks of seriou~ sickness among stock are unknown, and losses through ailment are practically I nil. It is said that sheep reared here I'COmmand a higher price than sheep I reared in other districts.

BEAUTIFUL GROUNDS AND ACCOMMODATION. A REAL BEAUTY SPOT. A rral live body in this district is the Waimariiio A.P.H. and T. Association. Tlic assoriation has a larpe memI borship r.ncl tliia year the thirteenth I annual show will be held on Thursday, February 10. Tile association was formed as the result of a meeting convened by the late Jlr. A. Dauphin, one of Raetihi'« pioneers. The first sliow was held in a storeroom in the town. It was only a small exhibition, 'but the quality of the exhibits was so good that it marked the district as capable of attaining a high standard in agricultural produce. The show of root crops surprised even the most sanguine in the district. The stook entries for this show, which was the first of its kind held in the district, were accommodated in the Domain. tl)uniiK the next two years the demand i for space-was so great that the Drill Hall was engaged in order to display the inside exhibits. The show increased in popularity from one end of this vast district to the other, and when the assoeiatijn was properly established it approached the Government for a grant of lands, with the intention of converting it into a permanent show (ground. A grant was obtained of 17A acres of land mjoining the then town boundary. The property ' was quickly improved, and to-day it is j a beauty spot, well-appointed, and fa<-inj i towards the east \* beautiful bush ! seenerv. At tile northern end of the I grounds two belts of trees have been I planted and these are coming on well, hi a few years these nhould act as .1 valuable break wind from the blasts | that come in (hat direction. Unfortunately, however, the beautiful bash which was being preserved at the we«t of the ground was destroyed by the disastrous tire of 1018, and ras not vet been tliorouj;hlv cleaned of the fallen timber and second growth. When this is done, and it is on the schedule of improvements, the grounds will be a regular beauty spot, and an attraction to all who visit Raetihi and the show. The importance and popularity of the annual show i< evidenced by the fact I that show day in Raetihi is one big day I and an outstanding event of the year.

At the stock sale held on Friday, i February 10, fully 0000 sheep were 'yarded by Messrs. Freeman R. Jackson and Co., and about t\vo-thira» of the yarding changed hands at satisfactory prices. ROADS LEADIXG TO RAETIHT. On account of the convergence of roads on Raetihi from various farming districts, the town has become a recognised stock centre, and through its geographical position it promises to become one of the greatest stock centres of the North Island. Even now it is claimed that it is the chief centre between Feilding and Hamilton. Stock are conducted regularly Jby Messrs. Freeman, R. Jackson and I Co., Abraham and Williams. Dalgety land Co., and the New Zealand Loan and -Mercantile Agency Co.. all of the foregoing having offices in the town. They also have commodious saleyards in the As evidence of the progress which has been made in settling the lands in the country around Raetihi, it may bo noted that blocks which are carrying most stock at present were in virgin ■bush twelve years ago, and some has not been felled even that long. The Ruatiti and Mangatiti blocks on the north-east -of the district were offered by the Crown for selection in the early part of 190!), and now form a prosperous and well-settled and improved part of the country, served by dray roads and good stock tracks. This "where .'man and beast failed to trend only nine years ago! l n the southern part of the district the Ohotu block, which was put on the market in 1903, but was not readily taken up for several years afterwards, is now looked upon as one of the most prosperous parts of the district*, and its farms (although having the disadvantage of being under Xative leasehold tenure) are eagerly sought after by farmers who know good land wnen they see it. situated to the westward of Raetihi, which is traversed 'by the road to Pipiriki and the Wanganui river, is now closely settled throughout the whole of its length of seventeen miles. The land generally is hilly, but is exceilent sheep country, and the once beautiful and attractive coach drive along the Pipiriki road has lost much of its charm through the felling of the forest in the inarch of settlement.

IMMENSE TIMBER INDUSTRY. Ml T.LI NO THE BUSH : The pioneers in the eawruilling industry were Messrs. Bennett and Punch, who installed a small plant, but the timber they cut then was purely for local use. With the adveut of the Main Trunk railway there was a rush to secure milling sites, and to-day the district is said to "ue tTie most prolific tim-ber-producing locality in the Dominion. Xaturally the areas adjacent to the Main Trunk line were the first selected for mills, and Raetihi got rather little benefit from the industry. Time and circumstances, and the completion of the 'branch railway from the Main Trunk line has broujrht the possibilities of milling right to Raetihi's door. There nvo ulmut IH.OISO aerofe of tinVwr lands witliin easy distance of the town, and within a radius of four miles there an- no li->« than [7 snwmills. The effect of the milling of these areas wili not be transitory, for, as the timber is removed, the lands will yield profit as dairying and sheep country. There are two banking institutions in Raetihi. viz., the Bank of Xew Zealand and the Bank of Austra'asia. The manager of the former is Mr. P. Mcßae, and the latter Mr. R. Jennings. Raetihi. with an altitude of 2000 ft above sea level. i« eminently suitable for the cultivation of email fruits, and strawberry growing has become an important industry in the district. Some years ago Mr. W. H. Tustin thoroughly -tested the possibilities of the district in growing for market, and the results of the experiments exceeded all expectations. Kaetihi strawberries are on the market as late as March, and local growers receive the advantage of the best prices for their fruit. « Raetihi has a continuous telephone service, and 212 subcribere to the Exchange. The many friends of Mr. P. G. Smith, first chairman of the Baetihi Town Board, and who held office for several terms, will regret to learn that he 13 at present indiepoeed, 'but with care and attention it is expected that he will soon be about again.

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TOWN OF RAETIHI, Auckland Star, Volume LIII, Issue 38, 15 February 1922

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3,122

TOWN OF RAETIHI Auckland Star, Volume LIII, Issue 38, 15 February 1922

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