As you slope down one of the many hills State Highway 1 has on offer you come to a town that is celebrating its 125th this Saturday.
Where the rural backdrop meets the hum of tourists passing by, sits the small town of Taihape.
First crowned the gumboot capital of the world in 1985 by entertainer John Clarke, the town became a location for his Fred Dagg comedy persona.
An idea the community grasped and ran with, turning it into an iconic rural theme throughout their town.
Traditions began such as the annual Gumboot Day that occurs every Tuesday after Easter.
In celebration of all things gumboots, there is a gumboot throwing contest with the aim to break the world record for the longest gumboot throw.
And the theme continues as the famous gumboot statue made out of scrap corrugated galvanised sheets that greets motorists as they enter Taihape southbound was created in 2000 as a millennial project by artist Jeff Thompson.
There is even a gumboot throwing lane for motorists wanting to have a break and stretch their legs.
Jan Byford, who has lived in Taihape for the past 25 years and is on the Taihape Community Development Trust, said when she first arrived she felt Taihape had so much to offer due to its location three hours from the capital city.
"It was a tired little town ready to burst into life and gave opportunities that council and community groups could take to make a difference and that's what's happened," she said.
Byford said the gumboot theme gave Taihape some foundation and has gone from strength to strength.
"The main street just had a makeover with the gardens, plants that are locally grown, kept this uniqueness about it and while we've lost a few businesses we're about to gain a few - like any small town they wax and wane."
She said while the activities and stopovers for passing traffic are growing there was a very big rural influence as well.
Taihape supports some of the biggest sheep and beef stations in the central North Island including Erewhon, Ngamatea and Timahanga stations.
Alongside many popular eateries such as the Brown Sugar Cafe and Soul Cafe, there are also businesses such motorcycle shops and Farmlands that are well supported.
Byford said with a great farming industry established, farmers and their families are dependant on having a small town that is developed.
"By having the work opportunities for some of the wives that is really important in a small community for the rural women, also a town for shopping where they don't have to travel so far and providing activities for young children."
Mayor of the Rangitikei, Andy Watson, said alongside farming Taihape had a history of supporting the railways and forestry.
Watson said the Rangitikei District Council had invested a lot of money to keep the local swimming pools up and running and is putting a new civic centre at Memorial Park.
He said many projects in Taihape that had succeeded had come down to volunteers' efforts.
Byford said the balance between urban and rural life is pretty good in Taihape as each supports the other due to being a lot more isolated with no large towns close by.
"We have to be more self-reliant and I think that's one of our strengths," Byford said.
It is one of only a few small towns in New Zealand to still have a running movie theatre, despite it closing for nearly two years in the early 1990s.
Senior students from the old Taihape College reopened the theatre as part of the Taihape Youth Enterprise Scheme between 1992 and 1994.
A petition from the wider community and a separate petition from Taihape College opposed the proposed demolition of the theatre and were able to raise funds to help retain the theatre.
"You've got to work hard to make things happen, it doesn't just happen on its own. Having people with energy is important, young people say they want to get involved and they see an opportunity and we need those fresh eyes" Byford said.
Byford said due to their isolation they are not in competition with any other town which means they are able to get the latest movies and use Majestic Theatre as a function space.
"While one thing might become a negative you can make a positive out of it and I think the innovation of rural people, nothing beats us actually."
And it is becoming more than just a bypass town, Byford believes.
Places like Tarata Fishaway Lodge and River Valley Adventure Lodge that offer an escape and experience in country life are drawing city dwellers to the region, making it a destination town.
The 125th committee with support from the Taihape Community Development Trust has organised a long weekend filled with events for all ages.
Convener Gill Duncan said anyone was welcome to come and get involved from the wider communities.
"It's a feel-good thing for spring because winters up here can be pretty tough so it's nice to have something to look forward to."
Rangitikei MP Ian McKelvie and his wife Sue opened the weekend on Friday night with a bubbles and banter evening at Majestic Theatre where attendees watched historic footage of Taihape on the big screen over a complimentary glass of champagne.
On Saturday there is a baby animal fair at Taihape museum from 11am where children are invited to bring their animals along and take part in the look-alike your animal dress-up competition.
Down at Outback Rd, resident Sharyn Robson has organised for an outback market with 25 stalls from local businesses, a miniature train coming from Whanganui and a bouncy castle.
The New Zealand Boot Throwing Association will be running a boot throwing competition with lots of prizes to be won, Duncan said.
A quilt and flower display will run from 10am to 3pm at St Margaret's Church and a vintage high tea finishes off the afternoon at the Taihape town hall.
Attendees are invited to dress up in the old-fashioned style of yesteryear and Mayor Andy Watson will cut a celebration cake.
Duncan said during the middle of the day they will hold a street parade with all the children and their animals with the pipe band leading them down to the vintage high tea.
Pinstripes and Petticoats then finish off the evening at the Musicians Club, featuring local band Fossil Rock and an eight-piece band Kawhia Musos from Kawhia.
On Sunday the events continue with an 18-hole round of golf at Taihape Golf Club, a church service at St David's Presbyterian Church and a tree planting to finish off the weekend.
"The whole weekend there's something for everyone and that was a real important part of the way we saw Taihape, as our new people are equally as important as the ones who have lived here for a long time, and I think we've got the balance right," Byford said.