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Township 13 km north-west of Te Awamutu. First named Alexandra, it was a military post during the Waikato war. In 1864 the 2nd Waikato militia built and occupied the Alexandra East and West redoubts, part of a chain of fortifications between Alexandra and Cambridge designed to block possible attack from Māori living south of the Pūniu River. The earthworks of an armed constabulary redoubt, built in 1872, are well preserved. In the 1870s Alexandra was the terminus for steamers travelling up the Waipā River. Despite vigorous lobbying by Alexandra residents, the main trunk railway line was constructed through Te Awamutu. This, and reduced river traffic, led to Alexandra’s decline. In 1896 the name was changed to Pirongia to avoid confusion with the Central Otago town.
Meaning of place name
Named after Mount Pirongia (full name is Pirongia-te-aroaro-o-Kahu; health-restoring purification of Kahu (Kahurere or Kahukeke), whose husband, Rakataura, restored her to health by means of incantations.