Going to town: High Street Motueka

From the days when it was a roughly-cut road line, going to town has always meant going up Motueka’s High Street. In the 1950s it was a cart track with stumps that needed dodging but it soon took on the appearance of a settlement, defined at each end by hotels and gradually filling with homes, shops and service industries. There were stables and sawmills, bakeries and bootmakers, and as the wider district was cleared and developed the town of Motueka became a business hub for hop and tobacco farmers, orchardists and agriculturalists. It was also a transport hub linking Nelson, Richmond, Ngatimoti, Riwaka and Golden Bay by land and sea. Today High Street is more intensely concentrated, with three or four businesses where one used to be but it is as vibrant as ever. This book records old family names and businesses, fires, floods and parades and the development of industry, services and tourism. It also documents the strong sense of community which still exists in a district which has High Street as its heart. The book tracks along High Street’s ‘golden mile’ from Fearon Street to Whakarewa Street, from the Motueka Hotel to the Swan Hotel. It includes RSA, Oddfellows’ Lodge and Anglican Church history, explains how the Post Office Hotel burned down and who rebuilt it, and traces the business ventures of the Goodman, Manoy, Coppins, Stilwell, Steffensen, Staples, Knapp and McNabb families among many others. The Motueka Mounted Rifles, the Motueka Volunteer Fire Brigade and the Motueka Highland Pipe Band are on parade through the years, as are the Motueka servicemen who volunteered in World War One.


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