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Taranaki Street Names


Welcome to the Taranaki Street Names basket. This basket contains articles that are published in the Taranaki Daily News' "Word on the Street" column.  The articles are compiled by staff in the Taranaki Research Centre I Te Pua Wānanga o Taranaki at Puke Ariki.  If your street isn't here, please contact us.

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Vampire Place.

Vampire Place

Vampire Place in Bell Block was named in May 2010, at the same time as two other cul-de-sacs adjoining De Havilland Drive. Bypass Developments Limited, who carried out the subdivision, suggested the names Albatross Place, Hercules Place and Vampire Place.

All three were the names of aircraft produced by the De Havilland Aircraft Company, which was considered appropriate as the streets are located within the area of the city’s original airport.

The Vampire Place cul-de-sac (French for “bottom of the bag”) is the first of the three

Rennell Street .

Rennell Street

Rennell Street in Frankleigh Park was named after an accountant hailed as one of New Plymouth’s “most useful citizens”.

Clarence Rennell was born in England in 1832. His mother Sarah died when he was still a toddler and his father Thomas remarried twice. Clarence immigrated to Australia in 1852 and tried his luck on the goldfields of Victoria for 12 years.

He then moved to New Plymouth in 1866 with his young family, initially entering into business as a land and commission agent. He later became Government

Norwich Ave (DP 10553).

Darwin Crescent 

Darwin Crescent in Spotswood is named for the famous English naturalist Charles Darwin. Not that he ever visited the city - he did spend Christmas of 1835 in the Bay of Islands but said New Zealand was “not a pleasant place”.

While Darwin is the man celebrated, the street was actually named after Charles Darwin Road in the city of Plymouth, England. As with so many other streets in New Plymouth, city planners were inspired by the strong connection early settlers had to the southwest counties.

Ball Road, Alton.

Ball Road, Alton 

The south Taranaki district of Alton was first established in the 1870s. After initial surveys were completed, a village was planned and sections were subdivided. Locals called the new settlement Woodville. By 1887, to avoid confusion, the name was changed to Alton.

Ball Road was named after one of the earliest settlers in the area, James Ball. He had arrived around 1850 and bought land beside the main road. Ball was later reported as the first Pākehā to buy land and settle in the Pātea area.

DP 860 Bell District.

Wills Road

Wills Road in Bell Block was named after early settlers James and Betsy Wills. The family would eventually have two roads in New Zealand named after them.

With their six children, the Wills had arrived in New Plymouth on the Timandra in 1842. A family historian suggests they may have lied about their ages to gain the financial help afforded immigrants at the time.

James was an innkeeper in Cornwall but, clearly a man of ‘enterprise’, he had greater ambitions in his new country. However, it wasn’t

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DP 1896.

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