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First sod lifted on the main trunk railway


This photo was taken at the ceremony held on 15 April 1885 to mark the digging of the 'first sod' for the main trunk railway in Ngāti Maniapoto territory. The group stands at the confiscation line, the southern bank of the Pūniu River. Rewi Maniapoto, with a white beard and wearing a top hat, is in the centre behind the barrow. Immediately to the left is his daughter, Te Kore, behind whose shoulder stands the bearded figure of Premier Robert Stout.


Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: 1/2-096175-G
Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Matauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any reuse of this image.

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First sod lifted on the main trunk railway, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated