Bear with me because the answer is very much yes – but also very factually no.
Performances are put on throughout the day by bands, dancers, and sometimes well-meaning but slightly lost sheep. Special guests are often invited, and to my jaw-dropping surprise – and especially that of my then fawning friend Anna – a top regional rugby team were present, including members of the world-famous All Blacks.
The second we arrived, it felt like ‘Air Whangomomona’ had trundled through a time warp. If New Zealand had a Wild Wild West, at first glance, this could be mistaken for it. 
whangamomona republic day
Whangamomona Republic Day
So, if you want an utterly jaw-droppingly strange way to bond with newfound friends, and find yourself in Taranaki or the Manawatu-Wanganui regions of New Zealand every other January, then get yourself a passport – yes, really – to the Whangamomona Republic Day and experience this slice of New Zealand that’s so-remote there isn’t even phone reception.

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