Topic: Hood Place (TDN 20/03/2021)

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Hood Place

Hood Place runs off Ōmata Road in Spotswood and was named in 1971 after Hood Street in Plymouth, England. New Plymouth City Council named dozens of new streets after locations in Devon and Cornwall at this time, paying tribute to the origins of the earliest Pākehā immigrants to New Plymouth.

Hood Street in the old Plymouth was named in 1850 after Admiral Samuel Hood, on land owned by the St Aubyn family (who provided yet another link to New Plymouth’s streets). Hood was an officer in the Royal Navy who saw action in the American and French Revolutionary Wars. The area was redeveloped after the Second World War and what was Hood Street is now a school playing field.

If New Plymouth’s Hood Place had been named after a strong local personality, however, the City Council need have looked no further than Mary Hood.

Born in Somersetshire in 1822, Mary immigrated to New Zealand with her parents, John and Grace Lye, and six siblings on the William Bryan in 1841. She met blacksmith Peter Hoskin on board and they married in 1842. The couple bought land in the centre of town where they opened a smithy, a liquor store and a general store specialising in drapery, hats and other fancy goods that Mary ran herself. Refusing to evacuate to Nelson with most of the other women and children when the first Taranaki War broke out, she continued to help run the family business while raising 10 children. Sadly, Peter died in 1860, so Mary needed the store to support her family more than ever.

Mary’s second husband Archibald Hood was a British soldier. The drapery business came to be referred to as “Mr Hood’s store” but it was Mary who really ran the show. She made regular trips to Auckland to purchase stock, had two more children and still found time to be involved with the Taranaki Philharmonic Society. Obviously an astute businesswoman, she finally retired after half a century in the trade.

Mary Hood died on 4 November 1902 at the age of 79 and is buried in Te Hēnui cemetery.

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Hood Place (TDN 20/03/2021)

City:New Plymouth