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The Hole in the Bush (ISBN 978-0-473-15258-1)

A Tuatapere Centennial Review

Des Williams - 2009


A history of Tuatapere schools and district, compiled by Des Williams for the Tuatapere School Centennial January 2010. 400 short stories, 500 photos. This 312 page book traces the development of Tuatapere and its surrounding district schools from 1901 and the township's first signs of settlement as it built up around the Waiau River punt/ferry at the location known firstly as Papatotara and later, Drummond's Ferry, before the settlement acquired its permanent name of Tuatapere with the opening of a post and telegraph office in September 1903. The town became affectionately known as "the hole in the bush" as sawmills and mill workers cleared the vast tracts of native bush around the southern coast, ready for development as first class dairying and sheep country. Tuatapere gained its first school in 1910 and this book traces progress through various stages from single classroom to primary school, District High School, Form I to VII school and thence to its present-day status as Tuatapere Community College. The book also records development of the district, firstly as a sawmilling stronghold, through the bad days of the 1980s with closure of New Zealand Forest Service and other related industries that gave the district its lifeblood, and onwards to its present status as the town from which tourists and trampers walk the Hump Ridge Track and enjoy the scenic wonders that are to be found in Western Southland and Fiordland National Park. Tuatapere is also noted for its annual New Years Day sports meeting at the picturesque Tuatapere Domain. This event started in 1910 and has been going strong ever since. In the years prior to World War II it was the largest one-day sports meeting in Australasia, attracting crowds in excess of 8000 people to witness the world class wood chopping events and competitors.