Tauherenikau Military Camp

Tauherenikau Military Camp

95-110-005 NIKAU CAMP

The Tauherenikau camp among the manuka, with ablution troughs in the foreground and open-air cooking behind

GPS 41.112 S 175.393 E

Although seen as a stopgap until Featherston Military Camp was ready for occupation, Tauherenikau served from August 1915 until 1923 in various guises. The original camp was set up among the manuka trees on Herbert Williams’ farm, just north of the Tauherenikau River bridge. The first occupants were mounted riflemen but infantry soon joined them. (more…)

The men always lived in tents at Tauherenikau and at times there were up to 4000 men in camp. There were few buildings at first and cooking was in outdoor field ovens. Supplies had to be carted from Featherston. The first reinforcement marches over the Rimutaka Range departed from Tauherenikau.

Camp occupation was not permanent after Featherston Camp opened. Trainees often spent a short time at Tauherenikau before entering Featherston. In the winter of 1917, a four-camp system operated to keep men from different districts isolated for a period to avoid contagion. In late 1917 a C.1 camp for unfit men was set up at Canvas Camp but this soon moved to Tauherenikau. A YMCA building, medical facility and a few other buildings were constructed, with a small isolation camp over the road. The Defence Department bought the farm in 1917 after Williams complained he could not work the land properly. A pig farm was set up and vegetables and fodder were grown. There was also a horse remount depot.

When the war ended, most of the buildings were removed quickly. In 1919 the Repatriation Department set up a training farm to help returned soldiers, suffering from tuberculosis or chest wounds, to learn light farming – market gardening, bee-keeping, poultry. The training farm closed in 1923.

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