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Whangamomona Hotel.

Whangamomona is a small township in the Stratford Districtmarker and Manawatu-Wanganui Regionmarker in New Zealandmarker. It lies on State Highway 43, the Lost World Highway north-east of Stratford and south-west of Ohuramarker. By rail it is from Stratford on the Stratford-Okahukura railway line.

History

The first settlers arrived in 1895 with the town proper established some 2 years later. Growth of the town was seriously affected by the loss of 51 men (including the smaller nearby settlements of Kohuratahi and Tahora) in the First World War and a major flood in 1924. The town recovered with arrival of the railway line in 1933 and electrification in 1959. However the town went into decline again and the school closed in 1979, the post office 9 years later.

Republic Day

In 1989 regional council boundaries were redrawn, with an emphasis on connected catchments. These revised maps made Whangamomona part of the Manawatu-Wanganuimarker Region. Residents objected, as they wanted to continue being part of the Taranakimarker Region, and on 1 November 1989, they responded by declaring themselves the "Republic of Whangamomona" at the first Republic Day. Though the move began as a pointed protest, the town continued to hold a celebratory Republic Day once a year, during which a vote for President was held. The day has become a local festival day, and attracts visitors from throughout the North Island. In 2001, the celebration became biannual, held in January to take advantage of the summer weather.

Presidents

Ian Kjestrup (1989-1999)

After being put on the ballot without his knowledge, he became the first elected President. Served 10 years

Billy Gumboot the Goat (1999-2001)

First elected animal. He won election by eating the other challengers ballots. He died in office after serving for 18 months.

Tai the Poodle (2003-2004)

Tai retired after an assassination attempt left him a nervous wreck.

Murt "Murtle the Turtle" Kennard (2005-present)

The local garage owner fought off strong competition from former president Kjestrup and a cross-dresser called "Miriam" to become the 4th President. He was re-elected in 2009 by one vote.

References

  1. Wises New Zealand Guide, 7th Edition, 1979. p. 506.
  2. Stratford Press: Two decades and counting in Whangamomona
  3. War Memoprial Cenotaph: Ohura Rd, Kohuratahi


Further reading

General historical works

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