Norsewood - Where the Socks Are From

Norsewood is the northern-most settlement of Tararua District, in the lower North Island of New Zealand. We are full of unique and creative characters that keep our small town on the map. Once you’re here there is plenty of interesting history, as well as a lot to do and discover. On this site we want to tell the stories of Norsewood South, celebrate the communities achievements, and showcase our talented locals. We are fortunate to have a wonderful archive of resources that encompass history, art, ecology, quality knitwear and good old Kiwi brands. Overtime we hope to share these resources with you both on-site and online.

One of the more prominent of these colourful characters was Ola Rian. In the 1960's Ola traveled from Wellington to Norsewood to celebrate Norway Day. At that time, he was the Norweigian Consul-General to New Zealand. If the name doesn't give it away already, Norsewood has a proud Scandinavian heritage and the Norwegian settlers who came from Oslo to Napier in the 1870s were the original settlers of the town. Ola Rain fell so in love with the green open spaces of our village that in 1968 he moved is 5 year old company Norsewear Homecraft Ltd. from Wellington to Norsewood.

Norsewood has been known as the place "where the socks are from" ever since. 


Norsewood Heritage Village 

When Phil Grant & Julie Hedley purchased the site of the Norsewear factory and outlet shop, they made one of their goals to celebrate the heritage of the site while creating and bringing new life to Norsewood.

The Norsewood Heritage Village project is the culmination of years of hard work. The development of the project has added a vibrancy to the area through art, history and conservation. When combined with the existing fantastic sites and people of Norsewood South, the result is an amazing place to shop, relax, learn, and create. 

In 2011, the old Norsewear conference rooms were transformed into the Hovding Gallery. The Hovding Gallery is a space where talented local artists can exhibit and sell their work. In 2012, Jeff Bryan joined the New Zealand Natural Clothing team and began using his expert wood carving skills to transform the gallery through unique New Zealand culture and nature inspired pieces. You can check out Jeff's magnificent carvings here.  

The Wop Wops Wetland Park

We at New Zealand Natural Clothing are extremely proud of our leading support of the Wop Wops Wetland Park project. The Wop Wops Wetland has been created in what was a simple sheep paddock when Phil and Julie took ownership of the site. In 2012, a charitable trust was formed with the mission of establishing a wetland habitat for the threatened native longfin eel. There have always been eels hanging out down behind the factory, but now the public has a chance to see them thriving!

You can find out heaps more about the Wop Wops on the Norsewood Heritage Village website.