Foxton, New Zealand

Foxton, New Zealand

Foxton is a town in the Manawatu-Wanganui region of New Zealand. The 2001 census population was 4617.It is located on the lower west cost of the North Island. The town is in the Horowhenua district, 30 kilometres southwest of Palmerston North and 15 kilometres north of Levin. The town is located close to the banks of the Manawatu River. The small coastal settlement of Foxton Beach is located six kilometres to the west, close to the river's mouth.


Winter temperatures are generally in the low teens, with the high possibility of strong winds, while summer temperatures are normally around the mid twenties.


Foxton was named after Sir William Fox, and has a history of flax stripping, which was used to make rope, baskets and other tools. Other industries associated with the town have included clothing manufacture and sawmilling.

Foxton is the oldest settlement in the southern Manawatu, although it was not always sited where it currently is. The original site of the town was to the east, closer to the present town of Shannon in 1842. The town was moved to its present site in 1885. In the early years of European settlement it was an important trading post and it was only with the advent of the Palmerston North-Wellington railway that Palmerston North began to overtake it as the most important centre in the Manawatu. The central government originally intended for Foxton to be on the route of the main line from Wellington to Auckland via Palmerston North and a tramway linking Foxton and Palmerston North was upgraded into the Foxton Branch railway in the 1870s. However, due to government delays on extending the line further south, a group of Wellingtonian businessmen established the Wellington and Manawatu Railway (WMR) and built their line along a more direct route that bypassed Foxton. When this line opened in 1886, Foxton's status as a port slipped, and this position deteriorated further when the WMR was incorporated into the government's national rail network in 1908. Shipping via Foxton ceased in 1942 and the railway closed in 1959.

de Molen Windmill

In 2003, a full size replica of a Dutch windmill, called [ deMolen] was completed and opened. This working windmill makes stone-ground flour, which can be purchased inside the mill's souvenir shop. Visitors can also view the inside mechanical workings of the mill, which are an example of traditional Dutch 17th Century craftsmanship.

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