Township laid out along the Whanganui–Woodville railway line. It was the site of a milk-powder factory built in 1904 by the Nathans, a Wellington business family, but was destroyed by fire two years later. The factory was rebuilt, but within a few months a gelignite explosion destroyed the boiler. A rival dairy factory owner, John Gillies, was arrested for the explosions and may also have been responsible for the fire. Local feeling was on his side, and a jury acquitted him. The Nathans later branded their Bunnythorpe product as Glaxo, and for decades it was the principal milk-powder product sold in the United Kingdom.

Meaning of place name
Named after Henry Bunny who took up land here in the 1850s and was a prominent member of the Wellington Provincial Council

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