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"Huntaway Capital of the World"
Hunterville was established in 1884 by a man named George Hunter who walked up from Wellington and drove a peg into the site where the town now stands. It is the place where the hills begin. Hunterville is also known as the Huntaway Capital of the World and each year the Hunterville Huntaway Festival is held, usually the first Saturday after Labour Weekend. This is a time when the local shepherds and farmers come together with their dogs for the Shepherds Shemozzle. The festival has been going for the past 14 years and was featured in the “Ripleys Believe it or Not” 2010 book. www.shemozzle.co.nz
The town itself is not very big but it serves a vast area of steep hill country to the Northwest. In the early days it was famous for the mud. Legend has it that a local spied a hat in the middle of a notorious puddle. When he retrieved it he found it was on somebody’s head. “What are you doing there” he asked. “I’m standing on my horse”. The town’s heyday was during the construction of the Wellington to Auckland railway. Thousands of men worked on the project and a lot of them settled in the area. Two hundred acres each was the norm and so there were lots of people everywhere, at one stage there were about twenty primary schools. Two hundred acres was never enough and neighbours bought out neighbours until now the average farm is probably well over a thousand acres with a corresponding massive drop in population. Hunterville School is now the only one left and some of the pupils travel up to forty kilometres to get there.
Hunterville has some great shops where the owner is likely to be behind the counter. They don’t pay high rentals so their goods are often cheaper than in the cities. They are not so busy and they enjoy a chat with anyone who is so inclined. The pub is a beauty and there are several places to enjoy a meal or cup of tea. The Rangatira Golf Course is just up the road. It has to be one of the prettiest courses in the world with magnificent views of the Rangitikei River, Ruahine Ranges, the Makohine Viaduct and hills for Africa. On top of all that it is an excellent course with a cable car to get you back to the car park. www.rangatiragolf.co.nz
It is a great place to live!