Topic: Moturoa Street (TDN 19/05/2018)

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Moturoa Street 

It's unusual for streets to change their name. Up until the 1950s this short road near the New Plymouth port was known as Medley Lane.

'Tigertown' residents also had nickname for it - Melody Lane. Saturday night parties, with music flooding the street, is just one of the stories recounted in the book Moturoa by Don and Noel Harris. One thing the book doesn't tell us, nor have we been able to determine, is the why the road was named Medley.

John Spencer Selwyn Medley was a prominent New Plymouth businessman from the time of his arrival in the town in 1907, until his death in 1937. Perhaps it was a tribute for his contribution to civic and sporting affairs, or maybe there is another explanation?

We also don't know why the name changed, although it appears Medley Lane may not have been an official name for the street. Medley Lane is used in street directories and on electoral rolls, however it does not appear on maps of New Plymouth. Early maps show the street formed, but unnamed. The new name took reference from both the suburb and the nearby Nga Motu (Sugar Loaf) Islands. Moturoa translates as 'tall island' and is one of two outer islands in the group. The street was once lined with houses but these have mostly disappeared. They have been replaced with commercial premises or are vacant sections.

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