Monday, June 3, 2013

Information Centre, Dannevirke

I've got to say it is a lot of fun and a huge challenge trying to sound out the various place names in New Zealand. I certainly don't intend any disrespect but as a visitor I don't hear many of these place names spoken so I'd hate to think how I mangle them when I have a go at them. One in particular, however, stood out as more unusual that most. Dannevirke. It didn't look Maori or English in origin more Scandinavian which is what it turned out to be.

Municipal Buildings, Dannevirke

This is the Dannevirke Information Centre in the Town Hall Building. The town bills itself as the Viking Capital of New Zealand and whose going to argue. They have a Viking warrior on the Welcome signs in and out of town and there is even a Viking on the sign of the Information Centre. The Viking link goes back to the towns origins in the 1870s when the New Zealand government encouraged people from Scandinavia to settle in New Zealand. The main group of initial immigrants arrived on two ships (the Hovding and the Ballarat) carrying Norwegians, Danes and Swedes. The name Dannevirke means 'Dane's Work'.

Municipal Buildings, Dannevirke

The Town Hall Building was reinstated after earthquake damage in 1934-35. A plaque set into the wall lists the Mayor, M D Smith, Councillors, Town Clerk, C T O'Hara-Smith, Architect, C J Kirk and the Builder, M G Templeton.

Municipal Buildings, Dannevirke

Dannevirke History,
Dannevirke Information Centre Inc


  1. Interesting. I knew nothing about Scandinavians in NZ. I just checked on a map, a bit north of Palmerston North.