The Legend of the Whanganui River
When the great mountains Tongariro and Taranaki came into conflict over the love of the beautiful Mt Pihanga, a mighty battle ensued. Tongiriro eventually won this fierce battle and Taranaki, wild with grief and anger at the loss of his love, ripped himself from the ground and tore a path through the country to the setting sun.
Soon after the mighty battle, a stream of clear water sprang from Tongariro, which filled and healed the wound Taranaki had made in his flight towards the ocean. Green forests, filled with the songs of birds, grew throughout the valley of this new river, known as the Whanganui River.
The Village Pipiriki
Pipiriki nestles in the river valley at the junction of the roads from Raetihi (27 kms) and Whanganui (79 kms), it is the gateway to the “Wilderness” reaches of the Whanganui River and the Whanganui National park. In the 1900’s, the Whanganui River was of great importance to the burgeoning tourist industry and a strong entrepreneurial influence of Alexander Hatrick. Hatricks first steamer, the Wairere, made her first trip to Pipiriki on the 18th December, 1891, later down the track there were an addition of seven (7) more boats namely:- Wairere, Manuwai, Waione, Ohura, Aotea, Aorere and Waiiti.
The second pipriki house which was built in 1909 and burnt down in 1959.
This important trade had sprung up, Hatrick and Co. decided that “The Pipiriki House” should form part of the whole system, enlarged and improved, plans were prepared without delay for a palatial, modern house, refurbished with every modern convenience and furnishings in keeping. The large building over-looked the river with well laid-out terraced gardens and to the verge of luxury. This building burnt down in 1909 and was replaced by a second Pipiriki House which burnt down in 1959. It was definitely a magnificent site of beauty.