Tuesday, August 11, 2009

#797 ... NOT WELLINGTON 2

This photo was taken on the drive back down the island to Wellington. You get some idea of the scale of the gumboot constructed from corrugated iron, by the car in the background.
The "gumboot" capital of New Zealand ...Taihape

Taihape Coordinates: 39°40.6′S 175°47.8′E / 39.6767°S 175.7967°E / -39.6767; 175.7967is a small, picturesque town near the middle of the North Island of New Zealand. It services a large rural community and lies on the main North-South route through the centre of the North Island. Taihape is the butt of many jokes owing to its rural isolation and its "one horse town: blink and you'll miss it" reputation.

Taihape is a rural supply town and was at its peak during the 1960s when it was a bustling railway and transport hub for the surrounding farming community. Much of its economic activity revolved around the railway and rural communities. A major decline occurred in the 1980s due to a restructure and electrification of the railway system and a general downturn in the farming sector. In recent years with the advent of major tourist attractions Taihape is now experiencing an upturn in local commerce. Its location on the North Island Main Trunk Railway and on State Highway 1 has ensured its economic survival as a key stopping point for weary and hungry travellers, although today only occasional excursion trains stop at the once busy railway station. Taihape's main claim to fame is as the "Gumboot Capital of the World", and it attracts large numbers of people to the annual gumboot-throwing contest.

Fame
For most New Zealanders, Taihape is a "one-horse" town on the main highway ideal as a stopover for weary travellers going north or south. By far its biggest claim to fame is as the home of the annual Gumboot Day. Gumboot day was first celebrated on Tuesday 9 April 1985. This festival was devised by local business people who, realising that they could never rid the town of its rural backwater image, decided to capitalise on its rural image.

Taihape's second claim to fame is that it is regarded (along with Eketahuna) as the archetypical small New Zealand farming town. This reputation was greatly enhanced when entertainer John Clarke used it as a location for his Fred Dagg comedy persona.

2 comments:

Leif Hagen said...

What a great, fun, unusual, BIG sculpture! Love it!

Steffe said...

Interesting facts about this little town, and it's a sculpture with a difference.