Settlement 24 km north-west of Whanganui. Maxwell was laid out as a township in 1871 by Robert Pharazyn, a Wellington provincial councillor. Pakaraka pā is the marae of Ngāti Maika, a hapū of Nga Rauru.

Meaning of place name
Named after a settler killed in conflict with Māori at Nukumaru in 1868.

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