These images received so many likes on the local facebook so we thought you might enjoy them again.
If you can recognise the location in some of the old photos (?) they may tell the story.
As a student in 1966 I prepared a ‘town planning’ paper project and previewed the plans for one of the new towns being proposed in NZ.
I did a project on this ‘proposed’ town being developed called Turangi as I had been there several time on holiday fishing the Tongariro River since the late 1950’s.
To get your bearings, at the bottom of the aerial photo on right there is a driveway heading down to the river – that is now Te Aho Street. TRM was more of a caravan park with a shop at the front.
Even way back then there was this ‘new’ motel complex called Tongariro River Motel established on the main road – now Taupahi Road, in 1959.
I knew it more for the village shop (now Unit 1) where kids bought their TT2’s. (They were ‘state of the art’ TipTop ice-blocks in the 1950’s.)
One of the original developers of TRM – Sylvia – was a keen pilot.
The present town was developed as a ‘hydro town’ to provide housing for the huge Tongariro Power Project in the 1970’s.
Compared to other ‘pop-up’ towns – such as Mangakino and Twizel – it was designed to remain as a permanent town so the landscaping specification was much higher – reflected in the many mature deciduous trees that dominate the town streets today.
I can still remember the big sign as you drove into Turangi town centre (The CBD!) which proudly proclaimed “Welcome to Turangi – City of the Future” ? It was supported on a replica of an electric pylon. Sadly it has not prospered since then. During the Tongariro Power Project the population rose to over 7,000.
Since then it has steadily declined with the present population of permanent residents below 3,000. Every census the population has steadily declined. Hence the visual reminder of so many empty shops as the town was deisgned to service a much larger population.
After the MOW (Ministry of Works) departed the town remained and has since become a tourist centre catering for trout fishing the Tongariro River and tramping in the National Parks. But we warn you – it is about to reinvent itself when the new bike trail to link with Taupo along the shores of Lake Taupo is completed….
If you want more historic info off the web:
Welcome To Turangi – Top Of The Lake