Transport

Getting Around

For Wairarapa’s first settlers, water was the main highway. Maori predominantly lived in coastal communities or on river and lake sides in the interior. People and goods were transported by waka, or on foot. The first pakeha to see Wairarapa arrived in ships too. On...

Early Balloons

The King and Queen of the Air The first balloonist in New Zealand was an American, Professor Baldwin, who made the first New Zealand balloon flight in Dunedin in early 1889, using coal gas to inflate his oiled-silk balloon. He was followed by a number of hot air...

Early Flying in the Wairarapa

Flying came early to the Wairarapa. Just ten years after the Wright Brothers flew in 1903, flights took place near Featherston and at Gladstone. Wellington engineer Percy Fisher designed and built a small monoplane in 1912 which he tested at Pigeon Bush. Although he...

The Fell Engine

The Rimutaka Range presented a great challenge to engineers looking to construct a railway to Wairarapa in the 1870s. Surveyor John Rochfort took a line as far north as Kaitoke, before moving up the Pakuratahi River valley. It was steep with many tight turns but it...