Get Inspired / New Zealand Republic Day and the Forgotten World Highway Share on email Print this article Share on Facebook Get Inspired / New Zealand Republic Day and the Forgotten World Highway story by: Tom Ricketts On 01 November 1989, the Republic of Whangamomona declared its independence from New Zealand. Whangamomona is a small isolated town about 65 kilometres east of Stratford on State Highway 43, more commonly known as the Forgotten World Highway. The towns residents were protesting at the redrawn council boundaries which saw them move from Taranaki to Manawatu-Wanganui. Now, every two years in January (the date was changed to take advantage of better weather), the town holds its Republic Day celebrations, a tongue in cheek affair that attracts visitors from all across the North Island. The celebrations on Republic Day are great fun for the whole family. There’s various country themed demonstrations and competitions such as wood cutting, gumboot throwing, tug of war, running races, sheep shearing and even possum shearing! However the main event of the day is the election of the next President of Whangamomona. Everyone is invited to vote in the elections, provided you have a Whangamomona Passport which are available for a small fee from the pub. Past winners of the election include two men, a poodle, and a goat. Celebrations aside, there’s another reason to go to Whangamomona, the amazing scenery. The 155 kilometre journey stretches between Stratford and Taumaranui on State Highway 43. However this isn’t your average State Highway. The road is incredibly windy, unsealed in some places, and one lane in many other places. But it’s worth it. Coming from either end you start with lush green countryside dotted with the odd strand of poplars and of course, plenty of sheep. As you head further in the countryside becomes increasingly rugged and really does get you wondering how on earth the sheep (let alone farmers) cling safely to the hillsides. It’s now not difficult to see why much of the land was abandoned by early settlers. The journey has you climbing several saddles, travelling through one lane tunnels around 100 years old, and through gorges full of native bush and impressive waterfalls. When you do finally make it to Whangamomona you’ll find a typical country pub serving up big meals and cold beer. They even have their own craft beer! The rest of the town is a small collection of residences and historic buildings which are slowly being restored. The towns school, post office and petrol station moved out long ago so make sure you’re well prepared for the trip. We strongly recommend spending a night in the town for nostalgia's sake, but the only two accommodations in town do book out well in advance (especially for Republic Day) so be sure to check with your favourite House of Travel agent first. Enquire Now First name* Last name* Email* Phone How can we help? My preferred House of Travel Store* Select Outlet Auckland Albany: Auckland North Botany Junction: Auckland South Browns Bay: Auckland North Devonport: Auckland North Ellerslie: Auckland Central Hobsonville: Auckland West Howick: Auckland East Milford: Auckland North New Lynn: LynnMall Auckland West Newmarket: Auckland Central Orewa: Auckland North Parnell: Auckland Central Ponsonby: Auckland Central Remuera: Auckland Central St Heliers: Auckland East Takanini: Auckland South Takapuna: Auckland North Whangaparaoa: Auckland North Bay of Plenty Mt Maunganui Papamoa Rotorua Taupo Tauranga CBD the Crossing Canterbury Ashburton Barrington: Christchurch South Christchurch City: Christchurch Central Ferrymead: Christchurch East High Street Lanes: Christchurch Central Hornby: Christchurch West Merivale: Christchurch Central Northlands: Papanui Christchurch North Rangiora Riccarton: Christchurch Central Shirley: Christchurch North Timaru Upper Riccarton: Christchurch West Hawke's Bay / Gisborne Havelock North Jenny Nilsson: Hastings Nelson / Marlborough Blenheim Motueka Nelson Richmond Northland Kerikeri: Northland Whangarei: Northland Otago / Southland Alexandra Balclutha Dunedin Lakers Gore Lakers Invercargill Oamaru Wanaka Taranaki / Manawatu Broadway: Palmerston North New Plymouth Stephen Parsons: Palmerston North Wanganui Waikato Calder & Lawson: Hamilton East Cambridge Coromandel: Whangamata Hamilton: Hamilton Central Matamata Morrinsville Taupo Te Awamutu Wellington / Wairarapa Featherston Street CBD: Wellington City Hunter St CBD: Wellington City Johnsonville: Wellington North Kapiti Coast: Paraparaumu Lower Hutt: Wellington North Masterton West Coast Greymouth Hokitika Westport I would like to receive email updates on the latest HOT holiday deals HOT Privacy Statement * required fields Similar Journeys Add or remove from Wishlist Top 5 Things To Do In Queenstown Read more Add or remove from Wishlist Milford Sound: The Eighth Wonder of the World Read more Done this? Tell your friends about it.