Topic: Hughson Place (TDN 22/09/2018)

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Hughson Place 

Last century the Hughson family was well known in Taranaki business circles. It owned several stores around the province, trading in a variety of goods and services. In 1919, Robert Hugh Hughson decided to operate a drapery store from their premises in Opunake.

The business was a great success from the start. Hughson was able to expand the store and take over other businesses. With his profile in the town greatly enhanced, he gradually became more active in various public roles.

In 1937 Opunake became a borough and could elect its own mayor. At the next election, in 1941, Hughson stood for council. He polled second and was appointed deputy mayor.

The town’s borough status only lasted 19 years. When, in 1947, he was elected Opunake’s third mayor, he became the final holder of the position.

In the years to follow, Robert Hughson would serve on the Egmont County Council, as the town’s coroner and a Justice of the Peace. He died in 1970. 

Hughson Place in Opunake was initially surveyed in 1954, with the intention of developing a mix of public and private housing. The town expanded only slowly and it was many years before all the houses we see today were built.

The drapery store Hughson had opened on Opunake’s main street eventually became the town’s longest-serving store. Unable to compete with cheaper imports in a changing economy, it closed in 1999.

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Hughson Place (TDN 22/09/2018)