This was a busy village as early as 1865. There was a post office, a store and a coal mine. A school was established in 1889 for 24 pupils.
The hotel, the remains of which you can see, was built in 1865, by a Mr. Geddes. This was a convenient place for wagons to camp overnight, as the punt service nearby was the only access to Te Akatarawa and Waitangi Stations.
In its first year, the hotel was the scene of a holdup by bushrangers, Everest and Davis. It was believed they abandoned the gold and hid at Parsons Rock when given chase by the local authorities. Was the gold really hidden at Parson Rock? It remains a mystery to this day.
Parsons Rock is situated on the right side of the highway, approximately 10 kms further towards the west. Named after Reverend J.C. Andrew, known locally as ‘The Parson’, this rock was the site of his Christmas Day sermons. The congregation travelled great distances to attend, by horse, on foot, or by punt across the river.
There is a legend of hidden gold lying in the vicinity also. It was believed that in 1865, bush rangers Everest and Davis, abandoned gold stolen from the Wharekuri Hotel, when given chase by local authorities. There are also claims that the town has it’s resident ghosts, still hanging around. Voices, mysterious figures and lights seen hovering in and out of the structures have been reported through the years. Haunted Auckland visited and documented the site in April 2021.