South of Auckland is Pokeno, an important military headquarters during the New Zealand Wars of the 19th century. Once on a main arterial route, a new motorway constructed in 1992 diverted cars – and people’s attention – from it.
Today Pokeno is home to just over 650 residents and 'New Zealand’s finest 100% home-grown pork'. There is a small butchery where you can test the claim to fame with some manuka-smoked bacon hocks.
Sunday is a busy time for Pokeno, with a bustling antiques and collectables market. Across the road is a café with a cute courtyard for a toasted cheese sandwich and a milkshake. An afternoon treat can be found in a good old-fashioned dairy with quite possibly the largest ice cream in a cone in the country.
Nearby residential property developments look promising for Pokeno; the stage is set for a strong revival, putting the town back on the road map.
Reported for our AA Directions Winter 2017 issue
Click here for more NZ travel stories.