Historically, Whakahoro's Wade's Landing was a stopover point for the riverboats steaming up and down the Whanganui River. This landing was located just below at the confluence with the Retaruke River. It was here that wool from the Retaruke valley's sheep farms was originally freighted to Wanganui for eventual export.
Just above the confluence still stands Lacy's hotel, which is now a farm house. It had its own separate landing, tennis courts, and on occasion (in the 1920s) locals would meet (come out of the bush) for a friendly game of Rugby union in their hobnail boots.
Over the Whanganui River was the site of a Māori community, the land was subsequently leased to the Rusling family for sheep farming, but now has reverted to regrowth. (The Roadway and Camp Road from here to the Republic of Whangamomona are nolonger maintained by the New Zealand Government.)
At one point there was a river boat (Image) semi-permanently anchored at the junction. This river boat served alcohol beverages. As the King Country was a dry area, such beverages were actually banned; the boat was considered "offshore" from the King Country.
Interestingly, Wade's Landing has made itself into various modern hand-held GPS databases, probably due to its historical nautical significance. Today a Jetboat can be chartered locally to take passengers up river to Taumarunui or down river to Pipiriki and Jerusalem.
The valley previously had a tiny Mangaroa Primary School(). At a location further up there still remain the community hall and sports field, here there are annual children's Christmas parties, occasional Dances/Social and the Annual Retaruke Sports Day are run.
Access to the Valley is via three main roads: Oio Road, Kawautahi Road or the Raurimu-Kaitieke Road from Raurimu. However on foot the valley can be accessed via the old Maungapurua Road, or by jetboat or via the Whanganui River. (Other access routes such as the Kokako Road & Kuotoroa East Road (to Ruatiti), Te Rata Road from Whakahoro to Taumarunui have long since been abandoned. Some of these roads were examples of pack horse tracks that were expanded to roads during the Great Depression 1930s as job creation schemes.)
Historically the wealth of the valley has come from the production of wool. Early on there were also some small dairy farms producing cream/"butterfat" for the Kaitieke dairy factory that was located in Piriaka near Taumarunui.
Then 1 km up the Upper Retaruke Valley road is the location of the annual Kaitieke Collie club sheepdog trials. Next is the location of a "Victory Hall". Further up the valley there was a coal mine; it was near this mine that fossil whalebones were reputed to have been found.
|Tributary Name||Length (km)||km From Mouth||Confluence Coordinates||Altitude|
|Near Erua Road||River source|
|Whanganui River||River Mouth||0 km|