In Patea in 1982, the town's main employer, the meatworks, closed down.
Hundreds lost their jobs and the community changed forever.
Paul Henry once drove through Patea and passed a sign on the side of a building reading "please stop and buy something... anything".
Now the town's been thrust into the spotlight again with the release of film Poi E: The story of Our Song, which was originally performed by the Patea Māori Club.
South Taranaki district mayor Ross Dunlop told Paul Henry what life is like in the community now.
The director of the film, Tearepa Kahi, also spoke to Paul.