Otorohanga 'Kiwiana Town'
Otorohanga has long been home to the Otorohanga Kiwi House & Native Bird Park, a wildlife sanctuary dedicated to the conservation and breeding of Kiwi and a host of other endangered NZ birds & reptiles. Not surprisingly, Otorohanga became known as the 'Kiwi Town' and it was a logical move to adopt the Kiwiana theme and claim the 'Kiwiana Town' title!
Today Otorohanga's main street (Maniapoto Street / State Highway 3) is full of Kiwiana memorabilia. (Even the Public Toilets are Kiwiana-themed inside and out!)
Pride of place, however, goes to the Ed Hillary Walkway in the middle of town. It's a gallery-style arcade connecting Otorohanga's main shopping street (Maniapoto Street/State Highway 3) and the heritage-listed Otorohanga Railway Station (now the home of Origin Coffee Roaster & Espresso Bar). It's a fitting tribute to that most iconic of Kiwi heroes, Sir Edmund Hillary.
The Walkway is lined with Kiwiana display cases depicting everything from Pavlova (a NZ invention commonly disputed by Australia!) the ANZAC Story, School Milk and Sir Ed Hillary to the All Blacks, Team NZ and Aunt Daisy.
"...In the main street adorned with colourful floral baskets, it was time to check out the Ed Hillary Walkway opened by Lady June Hillary in December 2008. In keeping with Otorohanga's Kiwiana theme, the walkway encases iconic New Zealand memorabilia behind glass panels to view as you stroll. There are buzzy bees, boot polish, All Blacks and the great man himself speaking via video. It was wonderful to hear that distinctive voice again and even though Sir Ed was not an Otorohanga boy, the town has paid him a fitting tribute. There is still much discussion about the best way to honour New Zealand’s treasure of a man and Otorohanga has gone and done it."
Bonnie Tucker – Eclipse magazine