Taihape at its peak during the 1960s was a bustling railway and transport hub for the surrounding farming community. Much of its economic activity revolved around the railway and rural communities.
Taihape is also the Gum Boot capital of World. This title is earned from the historic connections with the gum boot, first through manufacture, and now from the tourism and gum boot events.
Taihape is a small and isolated town on State Highway 1 some 40kms south of Waiurou. Over recent decades the town has struggled, primarily through the young people heading off to larger cities and towns, but of very recent times the reduction has slowed.
The town was founded in 1894, when European settlers arrived from Canterbury in the South Island. The site of the town was a small natural clearing in dense native bush, which the first settlers set about clearing.
Tiahape is also an ‘old’ town that had its berth in the rail era, when small towns were stop off points when trains were ‘refueling’ or as in the case of Taihape a rail junction. This therefore means there are number heritage characteristics with a number of the buildings in the township.
Taihape is one of those towns that is definitely worth a visit.