On the 15th of September 1872, the sailing ship "Hovding" arrived in Napier carrying 483 new settlers to New Zealand, all but 11 of them were Norwegian (the 11 were from Sweden). A few days later the men trekked the bush to reach an area now know as Norsewood. Families followed and the community became established despite the rugged conditions. In 1872 the school was established and the following year a postmaster was appointed. Now Norsewood has a population of around 330. This small town can be found on State Highway 2 between Waipukurau and Dannevirke.
Trolls are a major feature in Norsewood and have been there since the first settlers arrived. People of Norsewood are so used to them that they don't even notice them most of the time, but maybe you can spot a few when you take a walk on the unique troll stroll. If you follow the clues around Norsewood very carefully, you may just be able to find some trolls hiding under bridges or up in a tree. You can get a phamplet from the Norsewood Information Centre.
The Pioneer Cottage Museum
This museum shows original relics of the early Scandinavian settlers in the district. The old Ormondville gaol (used between 1894 and 1930) is also on the site... and can be entered!
Entry fee: Adults $2, Children under 12 free (2016)
It is on Coronation Street (Upper Norsewood) behind the Memorial Hall.
Maria Stavkirke: (Mary's Chapel) The first and only replica in the Southern Hemisphere of an ancient Stave Church from Norway.
Trollheimen: a stabbur, ancient Norwegian storehouse.
Pasotorpet: Replica of the log cottage left by Johanna and her family in Norway in 1873
Note - This place is closed in winter though you can see parts from the road.
Enclosed in a large glass case you will find a traditional fishing boat gifted by the Norwegian Government on the 100th anniversary of Norsewood's founding. It can be found just north of the shops on Coronation Street.
Did you know...?
Norsewood was the home of Kirstine Neilson, originator of New Zealand's Health stamps.
The Norsewood Country Women's Institute is the oldest now existing in New Zealand having started in 1922.
The 17th of May is the National Day of Norway. In Norsewood, celebrations are held on the closest Sunday to the 17th and all are welcome to join in.
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