Town 29 km south-east of Waiōuru, sited above the Hautapu River (a tributary of the Rangitīkei). Settlers first took up sections of land at Taihape in 1894. The main trunk railway reached the town in 1904, and through the 20th century the town housed rail workers, as well as catering to local farms and passing rail and road travellers. St Mary’s Catholic Church, designed in 1954 by Ernst Plischke, is a modern historic building. In an attempt to revitalise the town, an annual ‘Gumboot Day’ festival has run since 1985.

Meaning of place name
Originally Ōtaihape, ō: place of; tai: angle; hape: crooked; or Place of Taihape (a personal name); or Place of Tai the hunchback. No reason for the name can be given with certainty, although the initial 'ō' may have been dropped when the town was gazetted in 1894.