Waikaretu facts for kids
Quick facts for kids
Waikapakapa Stream waterfall, Waikāretu
|Territorial authority||Waikato District|
|Elevation||90 m (300 ft)|
Waikaretu or Waikāretu is a rural community and caving area in the Waikato District and Waikato region of New Zealand's North Island. It is located 49 kilometres south-west of Tuakau. Meshblock 0846300 had a population of 48 in 2013 and the south side of Waikāretu, meshblock 0849001, had 63.
The area features the 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) long Nikau Cave, which has limestone pillars, stalactites and stalagmites. Ninety minute guided tours are available, which are often wet and muddy. There is a visitor cafe, and there are several accommodation options nearby. A British analysis of TripAdvisor reviews in 2020 identified the cave as one of New Zealand's best secret tourist spots.
A local farmstay also provides guided horse treks.
Waikāretu translates as "waters of the kāretu grass"; wai means water; and kāretu is a sweet-scented grass.
The current Waikaretu settlement was established with the opening of a local school in 1924.
The Wāikaretu War Memorial Hall was built in 1952. It has no Roll of Honour, but includes a plaque commemorating those who served in both World War I and World War II.
Philip and Anne Woodward moved to the area in 1976, purchasing a 204 hectare sheep and dairy farm that included Nikau Cave. They opened the cave to the public in 1994, after their farming lease on a neighbouring 242 hectare block ended and they could no longer make enough money from farming and shearing services.
By the 2010s the area featured several dairy farms, including the third-generation Whitford farm.
In 2016, the Overseas Investment Office granted a Chinese company, Weihai Station, approval to buy 595 hectares of coastal land. Part of the land will be used for a lodge and training facility, with the rest continuing to operate as a sheep and beef farm. The company gave Waikaretu School $25,000 in grants between 2016 and 2020.
Also in 2016, a secretive group began tunneling into the side of road searching for the skeletons of a mythical race of pre-Polynesian giants. They called off the search in February 2020, after iwi, academics and the landowner raised concerns about the dig.
Waikaretu School is a co-educational state primary school for Year 1 to 8 students, with a roll of 21 as of July 2016.
Waikaretu Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.