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Pukerau’s Past

The beginnings of the township date back to 1876 when Pukerau established itself as one of the main railway and agriculture hubs of the time.

Originally the valley was called the not-so-appealing name of The Swamp. However, in the 1860’s people began referring to it as Taylor’s Creek. This was met with confusion at the time as there were already many ‘Taylor’s Creeks’ in the south. As a result, people suggested using the Māori name for the area instead. And so Pukerau as we know it now came to light!

A History of Logistics

Until roading was established, there was no need for vehicles, horsemen or walkers to pass through Pukerau. The formation of roading was an incredibly valuable step in the town’s progress, allowing settlers and the community to genuinely prosper.

Seeing the value in roading, the railway was built. The main trunk line is still in use today. The railway installed great confidence in the prospects for Pukerau, allowing businesses to open and flourish. Many would continue for generations past the 19th century.

A gazetteer published many years ago, “Pukerau has a post and telegraph office, railway station, Presbyterian Church, Roman Catholic Chapel, two stores, a public school, an athenaeum, and a public hall.”

The perfect small township some might say.

Philosophers tell us people are often happier in a small town rather than a big city, so on this count, the residents of Pukerau were fortunate.

One of the town’s most notable businesses, Norton’s Brick and Tile Company, was founded in 1880 by John Norton.

Prior to closure, Norton’s carried New Zealand’s oldest quarry licence for a company still being owned and operated by the same family. To find or repurpose a Norton’s brick in the District today is thought to be a rarity.

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