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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Paekakariki Town

Paekakariki is a small coastal town of approximately 2000 residents.  The town’s Maori name means “Perching place of the Kakariki (green parrot).  The parrots and the dense tree cover is sadly long gone.   Campers staying at the Paekakariki Motor Camp swell the numbers over the summer period and day trippers enjoy visiting the adjacent Queen Elizabeth Park and the beach.  This is ably patrolled by volunteers of the local Surf Club.

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Surf Rescue ready and waiting

The tiny shopping  area boasts a small assortment of shops housed in vintage buildings.  The local hotel has been rebuilt and now offers apartment living as well as bars, a cafe and restaurant.  The railway line and State Highway One mark the eastern edge of the town. 

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Paekakariki township with a train going through

Paekakariki’s history and the railway are well linked.  There is an interesting Rail Museum to visit and the privately owned “Steam Incorporated” restore engines and carriage stock and run frequent steam rail trips.  In 1886 the Wellington to Manawatu railway was completed, and Paekakariki became an important stop on the journey.  From 1917 until the 1960s, Paekakariki Station became  a very popular refreshment stop on the journey north, before on board refreshment was available.

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Down at the Beach

Prior to European settlement, the area had a violent history.  The Maori warrior leader Te Rauparaha led raids from nearby Kapiti Island, an impregnable stronghold.  These days, Kapiti Island is a bird sanctuary and is home to many endangered species.

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Kapiti Island

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