Historically the small town of Tokanui was well known for its flax milling and also boasted a busy railway station.
Today the town of Tokanui acts as a service centre for the Southern Catlins area and is located
on the Southern Scenic Route. It boasts a garage, dairy, Tavern and Primary School.
The primary school serves a wide area and has a current roll of 95-100 children
. The township is also home to a volunteer fire station and ambulance society as well as providing
24 hour medical care via a district nursing service.
The surrounding area is predominantly farming country with
Beef, sheep, deer and dairy farms located in the area.