Rolleston: Time to take it seriously
Something must be happening in a town that has gone from just one primary school to five primaries and a secondary school in about as many years. Rolleston has a future, as John McCrone discovers.
It is obligatory to mention the road-side sign that for many years gave everybody driving by a hearty chuckle. "Rolleston: The town of the future."
In the 1970s, Labour Prime Minister Norman Kirk thought the sleepy rail junction village of 1000 people would be a great place for a state-built satellite town of 50,000 to 80,000. Another Porirua or Otara.
Christchurch was beginning to bust its green belt urban limit. Rolleston could be a second city which would siphon off that growth pressure.
A change of government saw the idea shelved. But for many years – promoted by local developers – the "town of the future" sign stood proud and ironic at the state highway turn-off, until someone quietly took it down.
Today, however, Rolleston is no longer anyone's joke.