Pahiatua is a very impressive town. Also on State Highway 2 and equidistant from Woodville and Masterton. Pahiatua has two histories to relate. Firstly the towns natural history, but also that of the Polish Refugees.
One of Pahiatua’s great ideas is the icon stepping stones inlaid up the middle of the median strip. This a knock off the hand prints in Hollywood, but the towns ‘foot’ version has some very famous foot signatures; not the least Sir Edmund Hilary. But you will recognize most if not all of the people.
Unusually for a town of its size Pahiatua has retained several amenities that were lost to similar towns around New Zealand in the 1980s and 1990s, in particular banking and a host of services.
Precisely when the town of Pahiatua came into being is not clear, however, by the summer of 1883 advertising of grassed suburban sections, "improved" acres, and other unimproved lots occurred.
From Wikipedia the following re the Polish refugees:-
‘On 1 November 1944 838 Polish refugees, of which 733 were children, were sent to a refugee camp about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) south of the town. The camp had been used as an internment camp for foreigners at the start of World War II. The settlement was expected to be a temporary measure, but with the rise of communism in Eastern Europe after the end of the war, the refugees stayed on at the camp until 1949 at which point they were naturalised. In 2004 the New Zealand Polish community celebrated its 60th anniversary. The Pahiatua Museum gives a good account and records of the refugees and their current status.’
A nice town that deserves a few hours at a minimum to soak up the history.