Dannevirke means work of the Danes and was founded by Scandinavian pioneers in the 1870s.
They were brought in to clear some of the densest forest in the country, called 70 Mile Bush.
Today Dannevirke is a thriving community with famously-friendly people, many of whom do not identify with the region that Dannevirke is situated in.
While today Dannevirke is commuting distance to Palmerston North, in the 1870s you risked life and limb to go there.
It meant crossing the Manawatu River and traversing the Manawatu Gorge, which snakes between the Tararua and Ruahine ranges.
Because the distant Central Hawke's Bay towns of Waipawa and Waipukurau were a lot more accessible than Palmerston North, Dannevirke was considered part of southern Hawke's Bay.
Nowadays the gorge road is closed to traffic because of regular landslides but Tararua District Mayor Tracey Collis said thanks to roads over the ranges, Dannevirke "is in the middle of everywhere".
"So if you're travelling through to Hawke's Bay from Manawatu, you'll pass through us," she said.
"If you're travelling through to Wairarapa from the Bay, you'll travel through us.
"We're part of the Manawatu-Wanganui Regional Council, but actually there's a range that's between us."
Collis said the Tararua District was one of the last to be formed under a nationwide amalgamation of local government councils in the 1980s.
The Dannevirke District Council was formed from an amalgamation of the Dannevirke Borough Council and Dannevirke County Council.
In 1989 the Dannevirke District Council amalgamated with four other councils to form the Tararua District Council.
Dannevirke found itself the biggest town in the district ahead of Woodville, Eketahuna and Pahiatua.
The amalgamated councils had an unhappy marriage.
"The council meetings would have been fire and fury," she said.
"We've just recently lost Bob Trotter, who was our first mayor, and he has spoken to me of that.
"Depending on where you live in some of our towns, you would have had a close affiliation to other parts so people in Dannevirke have a natural affiliation to the Hawke's Bay. Hawke's Bay Today is the newspaper of Dannevirke."
Wairarapa MP Kieran McAnulty said the amalgamated councils clashed at first.
"There was some that associated themselves with Wairarapa and some with Hawke's Bay and then just for administrative reasons, they were lumped together," he said.
"But I think those days are long gone now and there really is this appreciation of the territorial district."
Collis also said those days were over.
"The Southern Hawke's Bay Country Women's Institute had a vote at their annual general meeting and it was a privilege to be there and watch this vote and they voted to change their name to Tararua Country Women's Institute.
"Now that vote was not unanimous, but they had that conversation because people didn't understand where the Southern Hawke's Bay Country Women's Institute was if you wanted to join in Pahiatua."
McAnulty said while long-term Dannevirke residents might consider themselves southern Hawke's Bay, newcomers accepted they were in the coast-to-coast Manawatu-Wanganui region.
"One thing's for sure, it's not Wairarapa, so at least we can cross that one off the list."
Nobody's told MetService, which lists Dannevirke in Wairarapa and, of course, Dannevirke is in the Wairarapa electorate, which stretches to Central Hawke's Bay.
Collis said because of the closed gorge and sometimes tenuous road to Palmerston North, Tararua Civil Defence keeps a link with Hawke's Bay, as does the Tararua fire service.
While it's two years away from completion, Collis said the Manawatu-Tararua highway will likely increase Tararua's population with the easier commute to Palmerston North.
"The one comment that they all say is they have never known a friendly community like it."
While Tararua has a distinct geographic setting, McAnulty said its history also set it apart.
"A history of cooperation between Scandinavian settlers and the local iwi," he said.
"Anyone that has any links to Scandinavia through their own family heritage should really go and check out Norsewood - it's like a little Norway.
"Dannevirke's the same as well."
He said Eketahuna was named Mellemskov by the Scandinavian settlers, which means the heart of the forest.
"All these sorts of things, if you don't go and check it out, could be lost in history.
"So go and check it out and it will surpass all of your expectations."