Topic: Tisch Avenue (TDN 03/05/2020)

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Gustave Tisch (Puke Ariki collection)

                                                            Puke Ariki collection (A66.389)

Tisch Avenue runs off Bulkeley Terrace down to the Todd Energy Aquatic Centre and the Kawaroa Park playground. It was named after Gustave Gardener Tisch, Mayor of New Plymouth from 1908 until his death in 1911. 

Born in Christchurch to German parents, Tisch moved to Taranaki in 1878. He took over the Stratford Hotel, then a pub called the Sawmillers’ Arms at Eltham. In 1882 he purchased the Beach House Hotel on St Aubyn Street in New Plymouth, renaming it the Terminus – located on the site of what is now the Richmond Estate apartments. 

Tisch ran the Terminus for 14 years before retiring from the hospitality trade and entering local politics. Elected to the New Plymouth Borough Council, he was also Chairman of the Hospital and Charitable Aid Board, a member of the Education Board and President of the New Plymouth Club, the Seaside Improvement Committee and the New Plymouth Beautifying Society.

Tisch was elected Mayor of New Plymouth in 1908 and went on to be re-elected twice before dying suddenly in office on 10 August 1911 at the age of 59. All municipal buildings were draped in black crepe and council employees given the day off to attend the funeral. Thousands lined the streets to pay their respects as the funeral cortege – 49 vehicles and 300 mourners on foot – followed the hearse through town.

Gustave Tisch is buried in Te Hēnui Cemetery, alongside his wife Fanny. He was described in the Taranaki Daily News as “one of the finest mayors New Plymouth or any other town had ever seen” and a special committee was formed to come up with an appropriate memorial. 

As Tisch had been instrumental in forming the beginnings of today’s coastal walkway, it was decided that an avenue of trees along the foreshore would be the perfect commemoration. Over £100 was spent on forming Tisch Avenue and planting the magnificent pōhutukawa that still line the street, and it was officially opened to the public on 12 December 1912.

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