The Kiwitea Block, containing the two proposed “towns” of Kiwitea and Beaconsfield, was surveyed for sale in 1876. The “navigatable” Oroua River was promoted as a huge asset of the district and at least one advertisement for the sections shows sizeable boats bringing cargo up to the proposed Kiwitea township.
A light coloured kiwi gave its name to this area of Manawatu. Although the motorist driving up Kimbolton Road today might think that the district began to be transformed into the rich farmland of today at the same time as Kimbolton, that is not so. Kiwitea is paired with Beaconsfield in the story of European settlement of Manawatu.
In 1876, after the commencement of the Machester Block settlement, centred around the township of Feilding, the Government offered for selection 24,000 arces of land lying north of the Cheltenham crossroads, between the Oroua and Kiwitea Streams. The land between Feilding and Cheltenham had alreay been taken up, a good deal of the bush felled and a road of sorts carved out of the bush.
A two chain strip has been surveryed along the route as it was confidently expected that the main north railway would come this way parallel with the road. A good deal of political juggling went on over the railway route, which finished in 1884 when Fox’s party won Parliament over to the Marton route.
The Feilding Star of 12 July 1882, describes the area thus : – “The traffic on the Kimbolton Road is now very considerable. Horseman, gigs, buggies, timberwagons, firewood carts, cattle, etc., are continually passing on it in numbers surprising to anyone not familiar with the rising district to which it gives the ingress and egress. In a year or two we confidently assert that a line of coaches will be running, anticipating the railway which must, in time, displace them.”
Taken from the Kiwitea School Centennial Booklet