Wanganui is now Whanganui, but give all reference during our visit was the ‘w’ version Wanganui survives for this synopsis. Wanganui is a pretty terrific place and has now stopped being the poor cousin to Palmerston Nth or any other centre. Just 20 years ago Wanganui was a struggling and typical provincial centre. Today the place is a ‘with it’ commercial and social centre. These upgrades now added to the classy schools and gardens. Plus, a main street to die for and increasingly invigorated river front.
Wanganui continues service a healthy rural market.
In the early years the town was a major military centre during the Land Wars of the 1860s, although local Māori at Putiki remained friendly to the town's settlers.
Cook's Gardens are a major sporting venue, used for cricket, cycling, and athletics. On January 27, 1962, a world record time for running the mile was set by Peter Snell on the grass track at the gardens.
Tourism is now becoming a major income stream for the district and the local Council has undertaken a number of tourism initiatives.
In 1995, Moutoa Gardens in Wanganui, known to local Māori as Pakaitore, were occupied for 79 days in a mainly peaceful protest by the Wanganui iwi over land claims.
There is a lot to discover and to allow a minimum of two days is warranted.