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Events In History

8 February 1931

All three people on board a Dominion Airlines Desoutter died when it crashed near Wairoa in northern Hawke’s Bay.

The only town and major rural service centre in northern Hawke’s Bay, situated between Gisborne and Napier. Settled by Māori, after the ancestral canoe Tākitimu travelled up the Wairoa River and landed near where the Tākitimu meeting house now sits. William Rhodes established a trading station there in 1839, and a permanent mission station followed in 1844. The government purchased the town site (then called Clyde) in 1864 and sold sections to settlers in 1866. Wairoa became a colonial military base when fighting broke out between members of the Pai Mārire (Hauhau) faith and colonial forces. Battles were fought around upper Wairoa and Lake Waikaremoana. The government later confiscated Māori land in the district and around the lake despite many Wairoa Māori having fought for the Crown. Geographic isolation and a reliance on rural industries vulnerable to economic downturns constrained Wairoa’s growth during the twentieth century.

Meaning of place name
Wai: river or stream; roa: long. One of the most common names in the country. Was called Clyde for a short while, following the vogue of naming Hawke's Bay settlements after figures involved in the Indian Mutiny.