Ashhurst is a small country town of about 3500 people. The people of Ashhurst enjoy a quiet and peaceful lifestyle, friendly neighbours, and beautiful scenery of the Ruahine Ranges and surrounding countryside. Ashhurst is the gateway to the Pohangina Valley, and also the East Coast being situated very close to the Manawatu Gorge.
The village of Ashhurst dates from August 1877 when the first European settlers arrived there. A private English emigration company called the Emigrant and Colonists’ Aid Corporation bought a 106,000 acre block stretching from the Rangitikei River across to the Manawatu Gorge. The chairman of the E and C Aid Corporation was the Duke of Manchester and so the land became known as the “Manchester Block”.
Henry George Ashhurst, a successful London merchant, was a director of the Corporation. When he died at Richmond, Surrey in 1882 he had never visited the town named after him.
Although Ashhurst is spelt correctly on the earliest maps of the town, by 1881 it was appearing on official documents as Ashurst. It was not until 1889 that the correct spelling was reinstated.
A plaque in the St Mary Magdalene Church at Ashhurst also had the Ashhurst family name misspelt. Henry’s sister Lucy gave money for the font in this church and is credited with having played a part in ensuring that the name of the town and the family were correct.
Ashhurst Ward Councillor ‒ Bruce Wilson and Duncan McCann
Community Police Station. Ph 326 8222
Community Library. Ph 326 8646.
Palmerston North City Council. Ph 356 8199