From Ten To Two

Built in the late 1880s, this 1.1 kilometre tunnel was completed some years before the construction of the rail lines it ultimately served, which eventually snaked their way south to meet it. Located in an area described as “an unpeopled wilderness”, it required a township of workers to be established and a brickworks created. Additional materials were brought in by canoe to Te Kuiti and by rail to the Puniu river, and hauled from there to the worksite by horses. After the work was completed, and trains were not yet running south of Te Kuiti, the access roads and tunnel had a life for some years as a road for horsemen and pack-animals bound for the southern parts of the King Country. Traversing the tunnel was memorably described as “an uncomfortable experience . . . get[ting] a packhorse bogged in the stiff clay . . . through the black dripping hole in the hill.”

130 years after its construction, and 40 since its abandonment, the dripping continues, and the clay is still incredibly boggy.

Thanks to The Forsaken Explorer NZ for directing me when I got a little lost on the hunt: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsDB2AmI-Lr4EhHOgZxA7Ag

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