ArchitectureOtaki is essentially a Troup Vintage station without the external embellishments. It is a gabled rectangular structure with a verandah and clad with rusticated weatherboards. It has a corrugated-iron roof on both the main building, capped by three chimneys, and the verandah. There is a brick wall between what was the refreshment room to the south and the building proper. Both elevations have double-hung sash windows (boarded up on the platform side) and four-panelled doors. The verandah is supported by wrought-iron (originally railway-iron) posts, which together with the fashioned timber valances at both ends of the verandah add a decorative element to the platform elevation. Interior modifications have been confined to opening-out and the conversion of internal spaces such as the former Post Office and public offices. Many internal features such as the architraves, windows and surrounds, and fireplaces remain
HistoryThe privately owned Wellington and Manawatu Railway opened in 1886 and it is probable that the first Otaki station building dated from that time. On 24 July 1910, two years after the government bought the railway, the building was destroyed by fire. All that was left standing were the iron posts from the verandah, which had only recently been erected. The station was rebuilt at a cost of £1150 - £150 was contributed by the Post and Telegraph Department, which kept an office in the station until 1951. The design was intended to follow that of the nearby Levin, with a particular requirement being a brick wall between the refreshment room and the offices. Much of the building has had different uses. In 1939 the kitchen was used by signal staff; in 1957 the vacant Post Office became the signal room and the previous room was taken over by railway electricians. In 1963 the signal room became a staff amenity room. Otaki became a special purpose station in 1986, with ballast traffic from the pit at the Otaki River being the major local traffic.
Architectural SignificanceOtaki is a charming example of a railway station. Although not one of the most elaborate of the Troup Vintage stations, it is nevertheless a most pleasing illustration of the genre because there are few more original stations of its type in the country. Much effort was made to present an attractive face to the town, while the building’s semi-rural backdrop adds to its pleasant setting.
Historical SignificanceOtaki was built just two years after the Government bought the Wellington and Manawatu Railway Company and therefore retains some historical association with this successful private venture. It was locally significant as the transport link for the district's market gardeners and as a major source of Wellington milk supply before the heyday of road cartage.
Town / Landscape ValueOtaki makes an important contribution to both the town and the semi-rural location it faces.