foxton

Biography

William Fox headed New Zealand governments four times. A rug-puller rather than a bridge-builder, he was better at defeating governments than leading them.

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Town 39 km south-west of Palmerston North and 20 km north of Levin. It began as the Māori settlement of Te Awahou, on the Manawatū River estuary. After the 1855 earthquake Pākehā settlers abandoned Paiaka, upriver, and moved to Foxton. The settlement was also a base for Presbyterian James Duncan’s missionary work. It thrived on the flax boom of 1869–70 and then as the gateway to the newly opened upper Manawatū. Flax booms in 1888–89, and from 1898 to 1919, brought much activity. Still, by 1935 only three of the town’s 11 flax mills were left. Ships last called at the port in 1941, and the railway closed in 1959. The river was redirected by the Whirokino cut in 1942.

Meaning of place name
In 1877 the settlement was renamed Foxton in honour of Premier William Fox.

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