Topic: Erin Street (TDN 26/12/2020)

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Erin Street

Hāwera’s Erin Street, along with four of the town’s other central streets, was named to commemorate the union of the four countries of Great Britain.

Erin is an old poetic name for Ireland which seems to have originated from the Irish word for Ireland, Éire. In 1801 Ireland joined the United Kingdom so the naming of this street, along with Albion, (England) Caledonia (Scotland), Cambria (Wales) and Union Streets, was a patriotic nod to the home countries of the settlers.

The fortunes of Erin St, which it seems was first developed in 1878, illustrates the development of many a town’s dusty or muddy track, to a formed paved road and the struggles of settlers to have roads created and maintained to suit their needs.  

In July 1884 at a meeting of the Hāwera Borough Council, councillor Duff complained about the state of Erin and Albion streets and said the roads were so bad that landlords would not lease their houses on the roads because access was so bad. An engineer was instructed to attend to the streets.

Little must happened, because the following year the council received a petition from the residents of Erin and Albion streets drawing attention to the terrible state of the footpaths. “After a brief discussion, it was decided to allow the petition to lay on the table, pending the receipt of the estimates,” it was reported.

Lay on the table it must have done, as over a year later in August 1886 a resident was motivated enough to write a letter to the editor of the Hāwera & Normanby Star expressing anger at the shameful state of Erin Street.

Later that year, after another yet another petition from residents, the council voted in favour of gravelling the road, by a small margin.

At this early stage the road only ran from Albion Street to Collins Street. The extension through to Cameron Street took place in 1903 when well-known farmer and local horticulturalist Charles Goodson offered some of his land up for sale. Advertisements at the time said small blocks of land will be offered for sale; “to suit the poorest pockets so that all may have a chance to buy land that will only increase in value”. 

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