New Zealand Politics. Of A Kind.

We encourage our customers to include some off the beaten track experiences on their New Zealand vacation. This is one example - 'The Forgotten World Highway' between the towns of Taumarunui and Stratford in the North Island. We feature a town called Whangamōmona that you'll encounter along the way. It's a great place to take a lunch break and to experience the Whangamōmona story.

The republic of Whangamōmona (population 126), was declared back in 1989. 

The village is located on 'The Forgotten World Highway', a spectacular drive between the towns of Taumarunui and Stratford in the North Island.

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Whangamōmona-Forgotten-Highway.jpg#asset:8290The 'Forgotten Highway' leading to The Whangamōmona Republic.

The Republic of Whangamōmona was created after unpopular boundary changes were introduced by the government back in 1989 that left the local farming community fuming. So they decided to protest by forming an independent breakaway state. 

Unfortunately for them, nobody, including the New Zealand government, noticed this "insurrection" and that's how the situation remains to this day, one that's no longer taken too seriously by those involved in the original protest or by the town itself.

On arrival at Whangamōmona, visitors are invited to call at the Whangamōmona Pub to have their passports stamped, before re-entering New Zealand half a mile down the road when they leave. For $5 you can even purchase a Whangamōmona Republic passport.

Welcome-Sign.jpg#asset:8286Welcome to Whangamōmona.

A past election saw Vicki Pratt elected as the first woman to be declared President of the breakaway state. "I wasn't interested in becoming President" she says, "but I was somehow picked, while I was out of the room, working in the kitchen". 

Current President is John Herlihy, serving his third term. Accusations of some vote rigging in the last election have been strenuously denied and a demand for a recount of the 126 votes was refused because 'everyone was too busy'.

President.jpg#asset:8285John Herlihy, President.
Sheep-Race.jpg#asset:8291Sheep Racing on Republic Day.

The biggest event of the year is Republic Day, held every second January. Activities include swimming with eels, watching dogs round up sheep, sheep shearing and sheep racing. 

After your visit to Whangamōmona, it's back to 'The Forgotten World Highway', to enjoy some of the most scenic countryside in the North Island.

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The team here at New Zealand Vacations can discuss ways to incorporate The 'Forgotten World Highway' into your New Zealand itinerary and we're confident you'll be pleased that you did.


Lindsay Barron

Lindsay Barron • May 03, 2022