It’s nearly 150 years since pioneering businessman Joseph McMullen Dargaville drew up the plans for his ‘model’ town by the banks of the Northern Wairoa River. Since then there’s been plenty of change, but the demographic shift which has been gathering momentum in recent years may be as important to the town of Dargaville’s future as the great Kauri boom was to its past.
From a hub for ship building and the timber trade through to a rural support town for a thriving dairy and cropping industry, now Dargaville has attracted the attention of a demographic peak of older Kiwis looking to leave the city behind. This is already beginning to change the look of the main street, and alter the property market, as recently reported by members of the real estate industry here in the West Kaipara.
With amenities such as the seat of council, a hospital, retirement homes and a large supermarket, there’s plenty to attract those urban dwellers who wish to enjoy the best of the country life, but still have the benefit of cosmopolitan services. A well stocked library, vibrant artistic scene, local cinema and theatre add to the cultural tapestry. And of course there’s a whole street of specialist shops to enjoy in the main street, with new ones under construction even now to boost the opportunities for a little dining, strolling and retail therapy.
As new faces appear in our neighbourhoods and the town of Dargaville evolves again, it’s time to look to the future — one where we may very well sit at the hub of a retirement and tourism driven community, incorporating the best traditions of service to the rural sector which are already the backbone of our municipality. With new highways forging through the land to the south, bypassing bottlenecks at Warkworth and Wellsford, Auckland will be even closer to Dargaville’s doorstep, with all that this implies. It’s an exciting time to make this ‘your town’.