Whangamōmona inundated with global interest after BBC travel article

A small town off the 'Forgotten World Highway' may be in for an influx of tourists after it was put on the global map.

The North Island township of Whangamōmona has gained attention after the BBC's travel section published a glowing review on the "quirky" town for its millions of followers.

Whangamōmona's President John Herily told Newshub Live At 8pm he's been overrun by people expressing their interest in the town. 

"It's amazing for our little district," Herily said.

"People haven't heard about Whangamōmona [and] now it's worldwide so it's crazy."

He said only 19 people live in the town - after a family of nine just moved in - but their Republic Day brings in thousands.

Locals declared the town independent in 1989 after refusing new zoning regulations by the local council.

The BBC said the little town is the living embodiment of "sticking it to the man" when necessary.

In January, their self-proclaimed independence is celebrated with sheep racing, gumboot throwing and eel catching.

Electing a town 'President' is part of the fun, with a tight race this year between Herily, Shirley the cockatiel and Eunice the sheep.

"The declaration of independence was initially a protest and a bit of a middle finger to authorities," Neil Volzke told the BBC. "But it has grown way beyond that now. It really shows the true Kiwi spirit of innovation and independent thinking still exists, and that small places like Whangamōmona have a really strong sense of community. I think mocking the authorities comes as a bonus – you've got to love it!"

The owner of the Whangamōmona hotel, Vicky Pratt, said they have been inundated with phone calls since the article.

"John has been fielding calls from dawn to dusk," she said. "So yeah it has made a big difference here."

With our borders opening for international travel this week, maybe Whangamōmona will see a few more visitors join in on their Kiwi fun.  

Whangamōmona inundated with global interest after BBC travel article
Photo credit: File