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37km south-east of Whanganui, Marton is the largest town in Rangitīkei. The settlement developed in the mid-1860s when four private speculators began subdividing. In 1885 Marton became the junction of the main trunk and New Plymouth rail lines. Through most of the 20th century it serviced both the railway and a rich farming district. The town acquired a gracious feel, with large houses in spacious gardens, and several private schools. Railway downsizing in the 1980s and 1990s affected Marton.
Meaning of place name
It was originally called Tūtaenui (dung heap). In 1869 it was renamed Marton after the birthplace of British navigator James Cook, exactly 100 years after he first landed in New Zealand.