Topic: Ranfurly Street - Waitara (TDN 27/04/2019)

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Ranfurly Street (Waitara)

Ranfurly Street runs off Raleigh Street in Waitara and was named in the early 1900s after the Governor General of New Zealand at the time.

Sir Uchter John Mark Knox (1856-1933) was a Viscount and Baron as well as the fifth Earl of Ranfurly. Educated at Cambridge, he inherited his many titles after his older brother died during a shooting expedition to Abyssinia.

Lord Ranfurly was appointed the fifteenth Governor General of New Zealand in 1897. Earlier governors had been either military men or professional administrators, but as pride in the British Empire reached its height, London began sending minor aristocrats to reign more ceremonially from Government House. Sir Uchter and his wife Constance played active roles in the colony’s social life once they arrived, throwing lavish concerts and balls and visiting schools, hospitals and rest homes all around the country.

During Ranfurly’s term as Governor, the boundaries of New Zealand were extended to include many Pacific Islands, while more than 6500 Kiwi troops fought overseas for the first time in the Boer War and Queen Victoria died after ruling for 63 years. Hugely popular, he handed over the office to Lord Plunket in 1904.

On his return to England, Sir Uchter became Director of the Order of Saint John’s ambulance service and received the Legion of Honour from the French Government for ambulance services during the First World War. His only son Thomas died in action in France in 1915 so he was succeeded as Earl by his grandson Dan.

There are at least ten Ranfurly Streets dotted around New Zealand but perhaps the greatest memorial to our fifteenth Governor is the Ranfurly Shield, the nation’s most prized rugby trophy.

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Ranfurly Street - Waitara (TDN 27/04/2019)