Eketahuna is a friendly rural town situated on the banks of the Makakahi River. Early pioneers originally named the town Mellemskov, which means “Heart of the Forest”. This name was eventually discarded in favour of ‘Eketahuna’, a Maori word which means to “run aground on a sandbank” (this name originated because Maori canoes could not paddle beyond this part of the Makakahi River).
The peaceful rural atmosphere makes for a great place to live or visit; there are hunting, fishing and bush walking opportunities close by and the local taverns are renowned for their country hospitality and well worth a visit whether staying over or just passing through.
See conservation in action at the National Wildlife Centre, just minutes away at Mount Bruce. Tuatara, kokako, kiwi and takahe are all permanent residents here. There is also a visitor centre, a café, education programmes, stunning interactive displays, and wheelchair access tracks through native bush – as well as opportunities to encounter kākā and eel at their daily feeding.
Eketahuna is famous for producing fine quality woodcraft and carpentry which is available to buy, or made to order through the many outlets in the town. The town is also home to an Early Settlers museum, a large model railway, a picturesque 18-hole golf course, as well as cafes, shops and art galleries.
Eketahuna has its Hall and Fire Tower, Nireaha its Library and Kaiparoro its bridge. All are war memorials built at a time, shortly after the Great War, when it was customary throughout the country to erect statue-type monuments.
The concrete arch-type ANZAC Bridge designed and built by Alfred Falkener was opened in 1922 and can still be seen at Kaiparoro on State Highway 2, just north of Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre.