PUTARURU - Waikato, New Zealand
PUTARURU is a small town in the Waikato region of New Zealand's North Island.
It is on the Oraka River 65km south-east of Hamilton.
The correct form of the name is thought to be the Maori word Putaaruru,meaning "To come forth like a ruru (native owl", sometimes given as 'Home of the Owl'
There were several Maori settlements in the Putaruru district in pre-colonial times.
Ngati Raukawa is the main tribe or iwi in the area and Ngati Mahana is the hapu (subtribe) within Putaruru.
During Te Rauparaha's migration to the Cook Strait area in the 1820s, many Ngati Raukawa people moved from these settlements to Rangitikei and Manawatu localities and others followed after the Siege of Orakau in 1864
Te Kooti and his followers were pursued through the district early in 1870 by a force under Lieutenant Colonel Thomas McDonnell.
The Patetere Block, containing the future town site of Putaruru, was acquired from the Maori in the 1860s.
In the early 1880s large areas in the Putaruru district came into the possession of the Patetere Land Company, and from 1883 much of this land passed into the hands of the Thames Valley Land Company.
Road making commenced in the late 1880s but the railway, begun by the Thames Valley and Rotorua Railway Co., was the most important factor in the progress of settlement in the area. It reached Oxford (Tirau) on 8 March 1886 and Lichfield, 5 miles (8 km) south-east of Putaruru, on 21 June 1886.
In 1889 the Putaruru-Rotorua section was begun, and was completed on 8 December 1894.
The first settler in the district bought his section in 1892.
In the 1880s Putaruru consisted of little more than a hotel and a blacksmith's shop.
In the early 1900s the Taupo Totara Timber Company acquired bush blocks north and north-west of Lake Taupo and erected a mill at Kopokorahi, near the present Kinleith (Tokoroa).
A bush tramway was constructed linking that mill with the Mokai Mill, 51 miles (82 km) south-east of Putaruru.
By 1905 logs were transported to Putaruru via this line and by 1908 passengers and goods. The dismantling of this line began in 1944 but in 1946 the Ministry of Works purchased it and in 1948 it began rebuilding the 18 miles (29 km) between Putaruru and Kinleith as a New Zealand Government Railways branch line to serve the new Kinleith Mill for pulp and paper production. This was completed on 6 October 1952.