At the centre of community and journeys since forever
Raetihi is an ideal base to explore the spectacular scenery and activities Ruapehu region offers. Our town is equal distance to Tūroa and Whakapapa Ski areas, ten minutes from Ohakune and is the western gateway to the Whanganui National Park, Pipiriki and Whanganui River Road.
The historic Bridge to Nowhere can be accessed by jet boat from Pipiriki (or ride/walk via the Mangapurua). A range of bike trails are accessible from Raetihi including the famed Mangapurua Track.
Close by are the Mangawhero and Manganui-a-te Ao trout fishing rivers where you are likely to spot the rare whio (blue duck). In fact, one of the best places to spot the Whio is the tranquil Ruatiti Domain, which offers free camping as a bonus.
Our town’s wide main street reflects the pioneering history of Raetihi and historic buildings include the Theatre Royal, Bank Of New Zealand and at the Waimarino Museum the relocated Railway Station.
The gateway to adventures, Raetihi has been a place to stop and connect for centuries.
Today we remain a flourishing rural service town, home to around 1,200 residents.
Come and discover our past, our today and the future.
Raetihi (originally called Makotuku) due to the river flowing at the town's edge) has been occupied since time memorial by tangata whenua.
The Waimarino block was partitioned in 1887 into several areas, and Raetihi town grew from this break up of areas.
The main railway station is a reminder of the importance of the town as a railway hub, created to transport the millions of cubic metres of timber milled from the area. The area was once covered in massive podocarp tawa forest that included trees over 5,000 years old. (For context the famous Tane Mahuta is estimated to be a relatively young 2,000 old).
Over time, Raetihi cemented its place as the crossroads for travellers, commerce and growth connecting across the area.