History

A brief history of Horopito and Horopito Motors

As work gangs laying the North Island Main Trunk rail line from Auckland and Wellington moved inexorably closer together temporary work camps moved with them. Horopito was one such camp but by 1908 with the completion of the line it became obvious that Horopito was to be more than a work camp as a saw milling industry had started to establish in the district. Horopito township was surveyed about this time, the original map showing many streets and residential sections, and areas set aside for cemetery, hospital, police and educational purposes. In fact, studying promotional literature of the time, Horopito was expected to develop into a "Great Central Town located in the natural centre of the Great Waimarino Forest, which embraces tens of thousands of acres of the finest milling bush in the Colony"

However, in spite of this Horopito never really thrived. It depended on sawmilling and railway traffic for its existence and by the late 1950's, with the native forest cleared, the decline had set in and most of the small population had moved on. The school closed in 1966 and the Post Office in 1971.

Sometime during the mid 1940's Bill Cole arrived in town and established a motor garage and repair shop in what was originally a sawmill with cookhouse/bunkroom. He milled existing trees off the property with his own sawmill, which still stands and has been recently restored, built the family home and later the large sheds to house the ever burgeoning collection of cars.

Bill's philosophy was that if a car for dismantling came into the yard and whatever parts were not sold they would stay there. Nothing was scrapped, which explains the vast collection of parts that are here today.

To the best of our knowledge we think this yard is unique in Australasia and a like establishment would be a rather rare occurrence elsewhere. In 1981 the noted New Zealand film "Smash Palace" was filmed here and consequently Horopito Motors is known internationally.

Bill died in 1987. His daughter Barbara Fredricksen and her husband Colin now operate the business.