Rongotea is a small, close-knit, rural township located 25 kms Southwest from Palmerston North with a population of 635 residents that really enjoy the friendly rural atmosphere. Rongotea School boasts over 200 pupils up to year eight and Te Kawau playcentre provides learning and fun for our little ones. Many local businesses and retailers including a dairy, garage, hardware store, tavern and two fish & chip shops provide locals with more than just the basic necessities. Rongotea is also home to five churches. In spring, residents and visitors to the town admire the beautiful cherry trees that are blossoming on every street in the town and dazzling new Christmas lights enhance the town during the festive season. On Christmas Eve each year Santa visits each street on the Fire Engine, visiting children, playing carols and giving out lollies. The new Te Kawau Memorial Recreation Centre is a real asset to the area and is the home of Te Kawau Rugby.
Two big landowners in Otago were responsible for the founding of the township of Rongotea and the surrounding district. Partners in the enterprise were the Hon Robert Campbell of Otekaike and John Douglas of Mt Royal. Campbell and Douglas bought the 21,400 acre “Oroua Downs Estate” in the Township of Carnarvon for the bargain price of 12 shillings and six pence per acre.
At the time the deal led to an enquiry because the contract was with the Wellington Provincial Government and raised the question of whether Campbell was therefore liable for disqualification as a Member of Parliament. However, Campbell kept his seat.
Because the land had been declared a special settlement area, under the terms of the contract Campbell and Douglas had to settle at least 70 families on their block. Campbelltown - with Douglas Square as its central feature ‒ was the result. The name of the town was changed to Rongotea in 1895, as there were already two settlements called Campbelltown in other parts of New Zealand. Meaning “peaceful place”, Rongotea was chosen by the Manawatu County Council after consulting with Methodist missionary minister Thomas Hammond. Rangitane Maori say the name recalls a local chief who kept his people at peace amid surrounding warlike tribal groups.
Temperance was a hot issue in New Zealand towards the end of the 19th century and was championed by the various denominations of Christianity. In Rongotea, the evils of alcohol were so generally acknowledged that in 1896 when New Zealanders voted on whether or not their local community would have a public house serving alcohol and be “wet”, 60% of the Rongotea vote was for a “dry” town. And so it remained for the next 71 years. A licence for a tavern in Rongotea was not granted until 1967.
Waitangi Day Gala. Huge auction and family fun day - attracts thousands of visitors each year.
ANZAC day parade.
Liaison Councillor - David Stroud. Ph 06 328 8868.
Committee Chairperson - Lance Berry. Ph 06 324 8887.
Committee secretary - Sandra Roberts
Te Kawau Rugby Club - Bill Donovan
Lions Club - Bruce Avery.
Girls and Boys Rally - Lynnaire Fleming
Te Kawau Bowling Club - Nancie Jeanette
Swimming - Pam Gatchell
Athletics - Sandy Pearson
Xmas Parade - Raewyn Dixon
RSA - Velma Bottcher and Steve Clausen
Triathalon - Gina Morris
Netball - Heather Toland
Badminton - Ian and Diane Taylor
Kiwi Netball - Louise Eustace
Equestrian - Jill Calow
Tennis - Ian and Diane Taylor
Te Kawau Recreation Hall - Stuart Mcdonald
Playcentre - Janine Guyton
Plunket - Chantelle Rowe
Rongotea Community Centre - Jean Scott
Country Womens Institute - Velma Bottcher
Rongotea Horticultural Society - Ethne Craw