Topic: Govett Avenue (TDN 17/01/2015)

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Govett Ave 

Located in the heart of Frankleigh Park, Govett Avenue originally ended at its intersection with Woodleigh Street. However, a large residential subdivision in the early 1970s extended it to the southern end of Wesley Street.

The name Govett has had strong connections with New Plymouth since the beginning of European settlement. Archdeacon Henry Govett arrived here in the late 1840s and was appointed vicar of St Mary's Church - a role he held for 50 years.

However, the street is actually named after his eldest son, the solicitor and conservationist, Clement William Govett. Clement was born in 1852, educated in Auckland, and then sent to England to study law. He eventually settled back in New Plymouth, where he enjoyed a distinguished legal career, which included establishing the partnership, Govett and Quilliam.

Outside of his successful legal career, Govett was best known for his interest in the environment. He was a prominent member of both the New Plymouth Recreation Grounds Board and the Taranaki Scenery Preservation Society.

He died on June 12, 1914, aged only 62. Mr F E Wilson, in a tribute to him at the Magistrate's Court, reflected on his career in splendid legalese, suggesting that Govett had, "submitted to a decree from which there was no appeal".

Clement Govett's youngest daughter, Monica, married Dr Rex Carrington Brewster in 1927. Her husband died in 1952, and 10 years later she gifted £50,000 to the New Plymouth City Council for the establishment of a public art gallery.

The appropriately named Govett- Brewster Art Gallery opened on February 22, 1970, in the old Regent Theatre building in Queen Street.

The gallery is presently closed for earthquake strengthening and the construction of the Len Lye Centre. Both are on target to open in the middle of the year.

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