Another of Manawatu’s very picturesque rural townships. Kiwitea is just north of Cheltenham, en route to Kimbolton and Apiti. It is a small settlement, with points of historical interest and beautiful surroundings.
A light coloured kiwi gave its name to this area of Manawatu. Although the motorist driving up Kimbolton Road today might think that the district began to be transformed into the rich farmland of today at the same time as Kimbolton, that is not so. Kiwitea is paired with Beaconsfield in the story of European settlement of Manawatu.
The Kiwitea Block, containing the two proposed “towns” of Kiwitea and Beaconsfield, was surveyed for sale in 1876. The “navigatable” Oroua River was promoted as a huge asset of the district and at least one advertisement for the sections shows sizeable boats bringing cargo up to the proposed Kiwitea township.
Today a brass plaque near the crossroads of Kiwitea’s “main street” recalls a sad story at the beginning of European-era Kiwitea. It marks the grave of Michael Brannigan, a member of the party that surveyed the district. Brannigan fell ill and died while his companions were in Feilding getting more stores. He was buried on site since it was too difficult to transport the body out.
Manawatu District Council. Ph 06 323 0000
Liaison Councillor - Prue McBeth. Ph 06 328 5839