Rangitikei is an area in New Zealand that follows the course of State Highway 1, from just south of Waiouru with the QEII Army Memorial Museum, through Taihape, Mangaweka, Hunterville, Marton and Bulls, and then winds down a minor road to the coast at Turakina & Scott’s Ferry.
Often overlooked when accessing many New Zealand "search" menus, the area is emerging as one of the last few "undiscovered" regions for both home-grown and international tourists.
Taihape is a rural supply town and was at its peak during the 1960s when it was a 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. 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.
Hunterville is well-known for its statue of the huntaway, a specialised herding dog that uses its voice to drive the sheep. The town festival and market held on the first Saturday after Labour Day has a "Shepherds Shemozzle" - a race with man and dog. with shepherds travelling from all over New Zealand to compete for the top prize.
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