"Norsewood, originally a Scandanavian settlement" Norsewood by Kate-Me

Norsewood Travel Guide: 15 reviews and 24 photos

As its name would seem to indicate, Norsewood is a town which had its origins due to a Scandanavian settlement (as well as the larger, nearby Dannevirke)
It's a tiny place, with only 330 inhabitants, but I found it very charming, and for me, worth more of a look than Dannevirke.

The first settlers to Norsewood and Dannevirke arrived in September 1872 at Napier. The first shipment carried 298 Norwegian and Swedish immigrants who had sailed from Christiania (Oslo).
The next ship, one month later, carried 13 DAnish, 6 Norwegian and 2 Swedish families.

From the ship, the men trekked the bush to reach this area, and their families followed.

The reason this area was settled at that time was that there was only a horse track for a road, and a proper road and railway track were needed to connect Wellington with Napier.

The Hawkes Bay and Wellington councils each purchased a portion of the area (the Seventy Mile Bush District) and a policy of immigration was agreed upon by the government.
The task of organising the policy went to agent BE Friberg, a Norwegian who had been living in NZ for some time, so I guess it's no surprise that he looked to Norway, Denmark and Sweden in his recruiting drive.

These nationalities were also chosen because of their farming backgrounds in their own land, and the fact they were used to hard labour and rugged conditions (however conditions in NZ when they arrived were far more rugged than even they were used to).

The area was high fern and scrub. Each family received a 40 acre block.
The tasks then were to clear the land, erect a shelter to live in, and road making and laying the railway began.

Work was hard and wages low, but most of the immigrants remained and it's said that many descendants of those early pioneers are still living in Dannevirke and Norsewood today.


I particularly liked the mural on this Ice Cream shop in the main street.
It's an easy town to find your way around, because everything is in a tiny part of the main street, apart from a few of the houses.

Not sure if this writing is Norwegian...or some kind of hyroglyphics.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:A tiny little town, not too touristy, well kept, quaint
  • Cons:A very tiny little town indeed
  • In a nutshell:Proud Scandanavian heritage in a pretty New Zealand setting
  • Last visit to Norsewood: Feb 2004
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
  • Add to Trip Planner (?)
  • Report Abuse

Reviews (12)

Comments (1)

  • KiKitC's Profile Photo
    Sep 9, 2009 at 3:08 AM

    I love little historic towns like this. The Troll Stroll sounds like fun. Have a happy birthday.


“Make photos while the sun shines!”

Online Now


Top 1,000 Travel Writer
Member Rank:
0 0 2 8 5

Badges & Stats in Norsewood

  • 12 Reviews
  • 21 Photos
  • 0 Forum posts
  • 1,254PageViews

Have you been to Norsewood?

  Share Your Travels  

Latest Activity in Norsewood

Photos in Norsewood

See All Photos (21)

Travel Interests

See All Travel Interests (5)