Originally clothed in dense forest, the European settlers of the late 19th century quickly cleared the forest, exposing river terraces, rolling foothills and dissected hill country to erosion. Good management and farming practise re-clothed the land in pasture, combining with remnant forest pockets, all back-dropped by the Ruahine Ranges to form a strong and attractive landscape, often referred to as ‘The Jewel of the Manawatu’. Recently discovered by life-stylers as a desirable place to live, the Pohangina Valley has a mixed dynamic community of traditional farming and commuters, mindful of its history and keen to maintain and promote the special character of the valley for all. Growing locally based cottage industry and eco-tourism supplement the attractions of access the wider outdoors, making the Pohangina Valley a great place for visitors.
Even after the bush burns and saw milling of early European settlement days in the hills and valleys of Pohangina, there are still beautiful patches of native forest in this picturesque district. The Totara Reserve, a favourite picnic spot, contains fine specimens of the tree species that once dominated this landscape.
European settlers began arriving in the district from 1886, when an association of small farmers established the Awahou Pohangina Special Settlement. Other blocks were surveyed and sold from the early 1890s‒ to the Pohangina Farm Homestead Association and the Salisbury Farm Homestead Association (the Utuwai and Umutoi area), the Delaware Improved Farm Association and the Malton Farm Homestead Association. All these groups were similar to those formed to buy land at Apiti, Kimbolton and Rangiwahia.
Charles Wildbore and his family were among the families who arrived in the Pohangina Valley in the 1890s. Charles was a skilled photographer who recorded the life of the community and the changes in the landscape. A collection of his photographs is displayed at “County Fayre”, the former Pohangina County Council offices in the Pohangina township.
Liaison Councillor - John Gregory. Ph 06 323 4722
Committee Chairperson - Ron Galyer. Ph 06 329 4817.
Manawatu District Council. Ph 06 323 0000