There has been considerable local concern on the town centre in Turangi – i.e. why there are so many vacant shops and what to do about them? The town centre was designed around 1970 to serve a town of about 10,000, but now the resident population has shrunk to less than 3,000, so vacancies are inevitable. This was compounded when the New World (locally know as the Third World?) supermarket moved out of the “CBD” shopping mall. Several other new commercial buildings include shops outside the pedestrian mall, with frontage to the carpark on the south side plus the library and council offices but the overall deserted appearance still looks a little desperate to tourists.
The obvious cure would be to attract more permanent residents as many houses locally are now owned as holiday homes. But new residents need employment. The town relies on tourism as the major industry. Various ideas to increase tourism include the development of a tourist bike trail to link Taupo to the north and into the Kaimanawas south. Similar tourist bike trail concepts has resurrected many other towns throughout NZ that were suffering from vacant shops etc. (i.e. Paeroa, Waihi, Te Aroha, all improved after the Hauraki Trail was developed, or Twizel and Omarama improved by tourist traffic on the Alps to Ocean Trail, etc.) The likely succcess of a Turangi to Taupo bike trail is a no-brainer. Other suggestions have been to open the underground power station for tourists and replace the original museum but Toe-paw Council have other priorities.
So we thought you might enjoy a brief walk down memory lane in Turangi to consider the shops and other business concerns that used to trade in the town centre. On the obsolete map in TRM’s reception are the following:
HAYWRIGHTS (the largest department store in Turangi), LOCKYERS – Hire Centre & home appliance centre. SYLVANA WINES, TURANGI DRY CLEANERS, TONGARIRI SUPERVALUE, TONGARIRO FISH SUPPLY, TONGARIRO Milk Bar & Dairy, Turangi Garden Supplies, Turangi Fabrics, TURANGI CYCLE & TOY CENTRE, TURANGI JEWELLERS, PALM LOUNGE TEAROOMS, HOME & HARDWARE, Turangi Supermarket, TURANGI PHARMACY, McBRIDE BUTCHERS, TONGARIRO FURNISHERS, GENT’S HAIRDRESSERS & TOBACCONISTS, NEILS GIFTS & SOUVENIRS, TURANGI SPORTS & TRAVEL CENTRE,
Just thought you might like a trip down memory lane…