Tirau is 30 km south of Hamilton on the main north south highway (1) and is the major junction for those traveling through to Rotorua. Tirau is a favorite stop off point for weary travelers seeking a rest stop.
Whilst Tirau is a small community there is a bustle about the place and traffic back-ups therefore are not uncommon.
Tirau has taken to expressing itself in building and other artifacts in corrugated iron, and may well be seeking that as the signature status; i.e. the corrugated iron capital of NZ. Today many of the shops in the town also possess large corrugated iron sculptures and the church has a giant shepherd also made out of corrugated iron
In the 19th century, Tirau, then Oxford (remember Cambridge was just up the road) was originally planned as a large-scale city for the Waikato, however plans were changed after the entrepreneurial Rose family bought up large volumes of land in the region, with the intention of making large returns when it came of high demand. Oxford later became a rural service town, and changed its name to Tirau in 1896. By the late 1980s Tirau was fast becoming a ghost town.
Tirau has since built a reputation as a shopping destination for antiques, collectibles and other niche items and all up this a must place to visit.
Tirau also has an unofficial museum located some 4kms from Tirau on the Rotorua Highway. This is a private collection, and the owner is constantly doing battle with the local authorities. It is at this museum the WW1 and 2 honour roles are now housed.
The museum is amazing, and for those visiting allow plenty of time.