History & Milestones of the Port

The development and story of Ahuriri and its community have been shaped by the multiple influences and forces of human design and urban planning, fortunes of economics and trade, nature and catastrophes, and to some degree luck. From the earliest European times of makeshift temporary settler dwellings, to the first signs of infrastructure and a planned township, the struggle to become economically viable and carve a niche for the region’s port, to a substantial working-class community at the heart of industry and trade in Napier, then the place we know today; this section remembers some of the periods and events in Ahuriri’s history.

WWII: 1939-45

World War Two, 1939-45, had a massive impact on New Zealand life, and the Port was no different. It wasn’t long before the dreaded telegrams began to arrive. Casualties and deaths were keenly felt in this tight-knit community. People from the Port who lived through it have strong memories of the times including: rationing, the anti-invasion installations, the bomb shelters, air-raid drills at school, fundraising events, the Home Guard parades, and the ‘friendly invasion’ of American servicemen stationed in town. With the increased production for the war effort, and especially the huge increase in food and wool exports from the Port, the war had a beneficial impact on the local economy, with plenty of overtime available for the men not overseas. Some had never had so much money in their pocket.

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