Kaimanawa Forest Park History

The name Kaimanawa is derived from the words of Hapekituarangi. On his travels he met Ngātoro-i-rangi of the waka Te Arawa who asked him why he was in such a cold and barren country. Hapekituarangi looked towards the Kaimanawa Ranges and replied “My breath (manawa) is my food (kai).” Māori travelled widely through this area along traditional routes and camps and settlements existed in several sites.

Europeans began exploring and surveying Kaimanawa Forest from the mid 1800s. Following in the footsteps of these adventurers were gold miners who sank several shafts and searched for the elusive metal in all the main rivers and most of the streams flowing towards Lake Taupo.

At the same time sheep were introduced into the ranges, most notably in the area around where Boyd Hut is now located. By the 1920s this venture was uneconomical and it was the turn of the timber industry to try its luck in the area. Between 1937 and 1972, more than 4500 hectares of red and silver beech in the northern and eastern regions were logged, mainly for splitting into fencing material.

Commercial deer hunting and government-managed deer culling operations occurred in Kaimanawa Forest Park during the 1950s and 60s - and it was these operations that laid the foundation of the current track system.

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