Caring community a one-stop shop for food, fiestas and outdoor fun, says Elisabeth Easther.
Origin of name: When the land was being cleared by the New Zealand Company in the 1880s, a ditch was hand-dug to drain the swampy part of the valley. The ditch grew into a sizeable river and the burgeoning community, founded on the south side 70 years later, was named "Riverside".
Population: About 60.
Community slogan: Co-operative living for peace and sustainability.
The seed: Established by a small group of Christian pacifists during World War II, it's still going strong 70 years on, although the community is now secular and pluralist.
Old news: During World War II, when the men of Riverside were in jail for conscientious objection, two escaped from a prison north of Auckland whereupon they walked to Wellington to have a word with the Minster of War to express their reservations about the conflict. Needless to say they were returned to prison - but what a magnificent effort!
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