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Kiwi towns

What’s so great about Mahoenui, two things a memorial hall and a weta

Mahoenui, New Zealand @Department of Conservation


Mohoenui is a very small scattered farm community with two interesting facts associated with the area. Rural depopulation is evident with an abandoned petrol station and store.

Mahoenui Memorial Hall – Home established 1954

Holding together a small rural King Country community, and host to the annual Mahoenui Pig Hunt. The building is an excellent example of World War II immediately post war when buildings and memorials were erected to honour the fallen soldiers.  Mahonenui has an intact exterior and interior making it a noteworthy example of postwar memorial activity.


Facebook page flags the Annual pig hunt.

And a Wētā

In 1962 a new species of giant wētā was found in a gorse patch on a farm in Mahoenui. The gorse, which protected the insects, was reserved by the Department of Conservation. Mahoenui is the only place these wētā have been found. Watch this 1998 video for a closer look at these marvellous King Country creatures. Mahoenui giant wētā are one of the world’s largest insects.

Mahoenui giant Weta, New Zealand @Department of Conservation Mahoenui giant Weta @Department of Conservation

In 1962 a population of giant wētā were discovered in remnant patches of tawa forest at Mahoenui in the southern King Country. More wētā were found on farmland reverting to gorse in 1987.

It’s likely that the wētā were once present throughout the lowland forests of Waikato.

“Mahoenui Giant Wētā Scientific Reserve

DOC purchased the land at Mahoenui where giant wētā was discovered and turned it into a reserve for the wētā .

The vegetation in the reserve is mainly gorse. While gorse is considered a pest thoughout New Zealand, in this reserve it’s an important plant as it provides protection from predators such as rats, hedgehogs and possums. Without this protection, the wētā is highly vulnerable to introduced predators.

Wild goats browsing on the gorse help to maintain its regrowth and are important in protecting the wētā. It’s the only reserve in the country where gorse and goats are protected.” Source Mahoenui giant wētā

Viewing the weta is only permissible with Department of Conservation prior approval and issue of a permit.

Source: Department of Conservation online resources

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