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Whangamomona ‘republic’ on the forgotten highway 43, Central North Island, NZ

Wangamomona local Wangamomona local

Whangamomona Hotel is a tourist hot spot Forgotten Highway style. I counted fifteen people in the hotel and vicinity. People, cars and bikes parked by the pub to obtain a passport stamp. Fee is ($2 fee) for proof you have entered the Republic of Whangamomona. A quirky resilient settlement resisting economic decline with its reinvention as a tourist hot spot. Whangamomona has kept its rural charm yet makes a seriously good coffee. Classics such as burger and fries, fish or steak are menu favourites.

Whangamomona resisted the change in local council government, from Taranaki to Manawatu with residents declaring Whangamomona a republic in 1989. The Republic Day is now celebrated biennially in January attracting thousands of visitors. The town has an elected president. A goat was elected president in 1999. Billy the Kid lasted a couple of terms before dying in office and although no one’s been charged, it did look suspicious. Other presidents have included a dog and a Czech shearer. The museum in town is located in the McCluggage Store, it’s full of curiosities, artefacts that needed a good final resting place. Don’t worry if it is not labelled and described museum-style. Just guess and enjoy the wander around. Donations are welcome to support the collecting effects. The pub is also full of old photos and things that look useful circa 1900’s.

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