Topic: Cutfield Road (DN 16/01/2010)

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Cutfield Road  

New Plymouth's Cutfield Rd takes its name from the Plymouth Company's first Resident Agent in the little settlement.

George Cutfield, the naval architect at HM Dockyard Devonport, England, was given charge of the company's pioneer expedition, which left Plymouth on November 12 1840 in the barque, William Bryan, with 148 passengers. The barque reached New Plymouth on March 31 1841.

Cutfield was in charge of the company's workmen and stores after landing. With experience in moving heavy weights, building and bridge construction, he and his men moved most of the barque's cargo from Moturoa to the Huatoki Stream's eastern side, using one timber dray, two handcarts and six wheelbarrows. Large sections of prefabricated warehouses and houses were floated in by sea.

Under his leadership, the construction of houses, storehouses and bridges began less than a fortnight after his arrival. Depending on the erratic arrival of ships carrying food, he was sometimes unable to meet the rations scale. Food shortages were also attributed to the reluctance of Sydney and Wellington merchants to have their vessels call at New Plymouth, where the lack of a harbour made it difficult for them to obtain insurance.

After a public meeting in January 1842 that sought a harbour for New Plymouth, Cutfield and his brother-in-law, Captain Henry King R.N., asked the New Zealand Company's directors for a harbour for small craft to be built at the Huatoki River mouth. They said "a harbour... was indispensable in a country which ... must be colonised by settlements founded on the coast."

They also said they were surprised and concerned to find that the surveyor, Frederic Carrington, "... had determined the site of New Plymouth on the open coast of Taranaki, without a harbour or even a roadstead, and wholly exposed to severe winds."

A Justice of the Peace, Cutfield was storekeeper and immigration agent until 1843. When the Plymouth Company had to reduce its expenditure, he and Carrington were told their services were no longer required.

Cutfield took up farming, growing crops at Brooklands and introducing English garden seeds to Taranaki. Later he bought land at Tataraimaka where he grazed cattle.

In 1851 Cutfield was appointed to the Legislative Council of New Zealand. He was a member of the Taranaki Provincial Council from 1853 until 1856. In 1857 he was elected Superintendent of the Province of Taranaki, replacing Charles Brown and holding office until 1861. In 1858 he was recalled to the Legislative Council from which he resigned in 1867. In 1870 he acted as deputy superintendent. Cutfield was a trustee of St Mary's Church for 17 years.

He died on January 22 1879, with no descendants.

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Cutfield Road (DN 16/01/2010)

City:New Plymouth