North Island - New Zealand
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It is the largest inland town and highest community above sea level in the Northland Region.
The 2006 census revealed the population of Kaikohe to be just over 4000 people, but it is the thriving shopping and service centre for an extensive farming district with a catchment of 28,000 people.
It is often referred to as "the hub of the north".
Originally a Maori village called Opango, Kaikohe is recognised as being the very heart of the culture of the great Ngapuhi iwi.
In the early 19th century a rival Māori tribe raided the village and fugitives subsisted among the Kohekohe (a native tree) groves on Tokareireia (Kaikohe Hill).
After the incident, the village became known as Kaikohekohe (kai meaning food) but was later shortened to Kaikohe.
The warrior chief Hone Heke settled in Kaikohe after fighting ceased, and died there in 1850.
His grand-nephew Hone Heke Ngapua, MP for Northern Maori, also lived in Kaikohe.
In April 1911, a monument to him was unveiled on Kaikohe Hill by Sir Tui Carroll, acting Prime Minister. A park in the town is dedicated to Rawiri Taiwhanga who has a very strong claim to being New Zealand's first commercial dairy farmer.
He milked a herd of cows and sold butter in 1834.
Also in the town is a Pioneer Village, a 19th century Northland community recreated with all its colourful atmosphere, history and detail.
Kaikohe was linked to the national rail network with the arrival of a branch line railway being built from Otiria on the North Auckland Line to Kaitaia, which opened to Kaikohe on 1 May 1914.
The line continued north to Okaihau, opening on 29 October 1923 and eventually reached Rangiahua, although the section between Okaihau and Rangiahua was never handed over to the New Zealand Railways Department for operation and the line never reached Kaitaia.
The line between Okaihau and Rangiahua was operated for a short time by the Public Works Department before being closed and dismantled during World War II.
The railway through Kaikohe thus became known as the Okaihau Branch.
Although Kaikohe has become established as the service centre of the Far North, it failed to generate much rail traffic in the early years of the line.
During the first ten months of existence, just 1,500 tons of inbound freight was carried, with roughly half that carried outbound; the decline continued to the point that in 1918 Kaikohe lost its stationmaster.
Minimal services were offered, and although losses increased up to 1930, fortunes had somewhat improved by 1940, and by 1950 there was sufficient traffic to justify six trains each way a week.
Two carried solely freight, while four were mixed trains, which also carried passengers.
By this time, a full complement of staff were again employed at Kaikohe.
When railcars were introduced on services north of Auckland in November 1956, they ran through Kaikohe all the way to Okaihau.
Previously, a carriage train known as the Northland Express had run from Auckland to Opua with connections to Kaikohe and Okaihau via the mixed trains, but with the change of the northern terminus to Okaihau, the branch increased in importance.
This proved to be short-lived; in July 1967 the very popular railcar service was withdrawn due to mechanical problems plaguing the railcars.
Passengers had to use the mixed trains, with significantly older rolling stock on a slower schedule, and demand slipped.
The branch closed to passengers on 21 June 1976.
In 1977, a relaxation of road transport laws led to a decline in freight traffic on the line and forestry proposals that would have required a railway service failed to eventuate.
Scheduled trains were cancelled on 12 August 1983, and for a little over four years the line was shunted when required.
The branch closed on 1 November 1987 and the track has been lifted.
The rail corridor through Kaikohe is still owned by the New Zealand Railways Corporation (ONTRACK), being retained in case any forestry proposals come to fruition and the railway is again required.
Kaikohe has a strategic position in the centre of the province, giving access of some of New Zealand's finest scenic attractions.
Within a 50 km radius are the famous Bay of Islands and the Waipoua, Puketi and Omahuta kauri forests.
Also not far away are the Whangaroa and Hokianga harbours, the Waiomio limestone caves, many beautiful beaches and secluded bays, and the historic town of Kerikeri.
It is also the home of the Kaikohe Demolition Derby, made world-famous by Florian Habicht's movie "Kaihohe Demolition".
It gives excellent insight to Maori culture with some hilarious characters and advice for wannabe demo derby competitors.
This exciting event is held during the Kaikohe Speedway's Easter Stampede.
The town is situated on the slopes of a volcanic hill and surrounded by many former pā sites.
The countryside is mainly undulating plain with volcanic soils, but on the western edge of town, Kaikohe Hill rises 300 m above sea level, allowing views of the imposing sand dunes on the Hokianga Harbour and farmlands to the east and south toward Mount Hikurangi (625 m).
To the north of the Putahi volcanic ridge is Lake Omapere, five km in length, but only two to three metres deep.
Around five kilometers to the east is the small village of Ngawha Springs - the site where hot water springs emerge to the surface from the Ngawha geothermal field.
The new Northland prison is situated nearby.
Former New Zealand Prime Minister David Lange was once a resident of Kaikohe.
Former New Zealand First Member of Parliament and brother of Winston Peters, Jim Peters, is a current resident.
Northland College is a secondary (years 9-15) school with a roll of 454.
It was founded in 1947 on the site of a former American army camp.
The school incorporates a working farm and forestry block.
Kaikohe Intermediate is an intermediate (years 7-8) school with a roll of 199.
It was established in 1969, taking over the grounds of the former Kaikohe Primary School.
Kaikohe East School and Kaikohe West School are contributing primary (years 1-6) schools with rolls of 228 and 367, respectively.
Kaikohe West School opened in 1882 as Kaikohe Native School.
The name changed to Kaikohe Maori School in the mid 1950s, and to the current name in 1969.
Kaikohe East School has a Maori unit offering bilingual and total immersion classes.
Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Kaikohe is a composite (years 1-15) school with a roll of 222.
It is a Kura Kaupapa Māori school which teaches fully in the Māori language up until year 7.
The school originated in the early 1990s and opened on its present site about 2003.
Kaikohe Christian School is a Christian state-integrated composite (years 1-13) school with a decile rating of 4 and a roll of 171.
It opened in 1985.
All these schools are coeducational.
All but the Kaikohe Christian School have a decile rating of 1.
Kaikohe Demolition is a movie about demolition derbies set in Kaikohe and its surrounds.
For more information about Kaikohe see Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This page was retrieved and condensed from (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaikohe) see Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, January 2009.
All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License (see Copyrights for details).
This information was correct in January 2009. E. & O.E.
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