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Early Wellington


page 207

The writer had prepared, after some considerable time and trouble, a complete alphabetical directory of street names, including every street in the city and suburban areas, for inclusion in this section of the book; but, acting on the assumption that the deleted names had no historic significance, or reference to any prominent old settler, they were reluctantly abandoned.

Some of the names of the comparatively new streets are associated with personages mentioned elsewhere in this work, and their origin can therefore be easily traced by reference to the general index.

The names of persons who were identified with the earliest affairs in the settlement,—like Revans (the first newspaper proprietor) and Woolcombe, a staunch advocate in the New Zealand Company for the welfare of Wellington, have unfortunately been obliterated in the past. Other names like Strang, Bethune, Chapman, Heaphy, Swainson, Marshall and Catchpool have been overlooked, and the name (Golders Hill) given by Dr. Evans, the first Umpire of Wellington, to the hill behind the Catholic Basilica, has been sacrificed in favour of a place called Goldies Brae, notwithstanding the many protests from early residents and the Early Settlers' Association.

The name of Golders Hill, nevertheless, will remain for ever in the hearts and minds of old-Wellingtonians.

When the amalgamation of the suburban areas with the city was effected, it was found necessary to alter names that were duplicated, and other names were substituted, but since these were altered (1925), the controlling body, with an ever changing personnel, has thought fit to change some of them.

The Geographic Board, set up in 1924, was first consulted in 1927, when the name of “Akatea” for a city street name was submitted to them for their recommendation.

In doing so, the members individually expressed their appreciation of the Council's action in referring the subject to them, and the hope that, with the rapid advancement of the city, those names which are wrongly spelt on some of the street signs would come before the Board for their correct and more dignified designations in the near future.

An index to names of maps published by the Lands and Survey Department, New Zealand, in 1926, devotes a page to the spelling of names of streets and places. Quoting from page 19 it states:—

“The names of streets have been taken from the official maps and documents of the Wellington City Council. Place-names generally, are from survey plans and records.”

“Attention has been drawn to the following cases of doubtful spelling:—

“Bidwell Street, probably (should be) Bidwill, after Mr. C. R. Bidwill.

Epuni Street, probably Te Puni, after Pito-one chief.

Etako Trig, probably Wi Tako, after Wi Tako Ngatata.

“Francis Street, probably Francees, after Mrs. T. K. McDonald.

“Guildford Street, probably Guilford, after Earl of Guilford.

“Harriett Street, probably Harriet, after ship “Harriet” (arrived Bay of Islands, 1817), (or Dr. Evan's wife).

“Leraud Street, probably Lavaud, after Commodore Lavaud.

“Majoribanks Street, probably Marjoribanks, after Mr. S. Marjoribanks, a direc- page 208 tor of New Zealand Company. (See Emigration Poster, p. 6.)

“Nairn Street, probably Nairne, after Mr. A. Nairne, a director of New Zealand Company.

“Orangi Kaupapa, probably Aorangi Kaupapa.

Ohariu, probably Owhariu.

“Ohiro, probably Owhiro.

“Tinakori Road, probably Tinakore Road.

“Waripori Street, probably Wharepouri, after Ngaurangi chief.

“Whittaker Street, probably Whitaker after Sir Frederick Whitaker.”

The writer appreciates the valuable help afforded to him by Messrs. Elsdon Best and E. G. Pilcher in checking and correcting these items, and to the former for his list of vowel sounds and definitions for the Maori designations of some of the streets. Also for some that have, unfortunately been eliminated from the present list.


  • a—as in “father.”
  • e—as initial in “enter” and “egg.”
  • i—as i in “wing” and as ee.
  • 0—as o in English “so,” “go.”
  • u—as double o in “mood.”