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Paekākāriki Hill Road
Paekakariki Hill Road looking north. Narrowest point (still the same 1981) with good view of gradient and unsealed surface. Heavily laden Ford model T truck making the ascent. Paekakariki,1924 S C Smith Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library
The Paekākāriki Hill Road was built to pacify Wellington region after the Hutt Valley War of 1845-6. British Army engineers with Māori road-building gangs completed the road in November 1849, linking Wellington and Porirua with the beach road to Whanganui. Māori produce, mail, livestock, and settlers used Paekākāriki and its hotel as a resting point for travellers and horses. From 1866 a scheduled mail coach service operated until the railway opened in 1886.
Paekākāriki Hill remained the main highway north until 1939, when Centennial Highway eliminated the arduous and often dangerous climb.
Click the thumbnail to enlarge the image.