Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 48, September 2004

By Graham Watton, Curator, Paeroa and District Museum

Have you ever stopped to think how Paeroa's streets got their names?

I have divided the town into sections and the first section we will look at is between Station Road, Taylor's Avenue and Thames Road.

Station Road: Provided a link for the north and east end of the town to the railway station between 1895 and 1924. The Station was on the Railway Reserve.

Taylor's Avenue: Prior to 1925, the section from Station Road to Hill Street was known as Anzac Avenue and it was then Moore Street from Hill Street to Bush Street. With the moving of the railway station to its last known site in 1924, Anzac Avenue was developed from a track through the swamp into a street and renamed Taylor's Avenue after Mr W H (Bill) Taylor, who was an inaugural Paeroa Borough Councillor, 1915 - 1921. There is also Taylor's Hill Reserve.

Seymour Street: I understand a family by the name of Seymour lived on this street.

Hill Street: This street originally went from the hill, across to Puke Road, however, when the railway station was moved in 1924 to its new site, there were some five sets of tracks to be crossed, and Hill Street was closed. The section from there to Puke Road became known as Brenan Street. A footbridge was built over the railway tracks and this was taken down when the railway closed in the early 1970s.

Davies Street: This street was named after N C Davies, a Councillor from 1947 until 1950 and Mayor of Paeroa from 1950 until 1955. He was in business as a plumber, with a shop situated on the site now occupied by Paeroa Farm Services Ltd.

Bush Street: H R Bush was an inaugural member of the Paeroa Borough Council (from 1915 until 1921) and he was also a prominent businessman.

Buchanan Street: This street was named after Mr George Buchanan, Chairman of the Thames Valley Co-operative Dairy Company.

Cullen Street: William Cullen was a long-standing early draper in Paeroa and he lived in this street.

Kennedy Street: The Kennedy family arrived from Napier in the early 1870s and established several small businesses, sold these and purchased farmland in Thames Road, where three sons farmed, Claude, Harold and Ivon, and they operated a milk run. A niece, Miss Edith Kennedy was a draughtswoman with Ministry of Works for many years.

Miller Avenue: The Miller family owned land in the area, and could be linked with the Miller of Miller and Poulgrain, Solicitors of Thames.

Andrews Street: A businessman of this name in the 1890s had his residence in this area.

Prospect Terrace:

Towers Street: This street was originally known as Rye Lane, leading to Rye Hill. Perhaps a family named Rye lived in this area. It provided early links with Andrews Street, Miller Avenue and Kennedy Streets. There was a name-change by the Borough Council in the 1950s to Towers Street, named for Mr W J Towers, the first Mayor of Paeroa, 1915 until 1919.

Quarry Road: This road no longer exists by name but it is now part of Norwood Road. Quarry Road was a short road giving access from Station Road to a timber mill and to Silcock's, later Brenan's Quarry. It became Norwood Road when Ben McDonald completed his subdivision in the early 1970s.

Norwood Road: The area to the north of Quarry Road was named Norwood in 1920, presumably after the landowner.

Ohinemuri Place: Named for the Ohinemuri District, the Ohinemuri County Council or the Maori legend of Ohinemuri.

O'Meara Place: Father William O'Meara was a very popular long-serving priest at St. Mary's Catholic Church and he was held in very high regard by all of the citizens of Paeroa and District.

McDonald Place: Named for Ben McDonald, who undertook the large subdivision in the area, including Goldfields Special School site and linking Norwood Road with Station Road, through Quarry Road.

Waimarie Avenue:The Mv Waimarie was one of the most notable boats linking Paeroa with Thames and Auckland, from the 1880s through into the 1920s.

Taniwha Street: the ss Taniwha was another notable boat which sailed between Paeroa, Thames and Auckland from the 1870s until around the 1920s.

Washington Square: At about the time that this subdivision was undertaken in the 1970s, the United States of America was celebrating its bi-centenary and the American Ambassador visited Paeroa.

Claremont Avenue: This street was through the Claremont Estate, the subdivision being undertaken around 1924.

Harwood Heights: This area of land was owned by a noted farmer in the area, Harold Woods.

Morrison Road: This road, off Thames Road, gives access to the Thames Valley Deerstalkers' Shooting Range and runs through Garry Morrison's farm.

The next area we will look at is the area between Thames Road and Aorangi Road.

Thames Road: This road commences at Aorangi Road and travels towards Thames. It is also State Highway 26.

Raroa Road: One translation of Raroa is "House on the Hill". There was a pa site on the hill, above Raroa Road.

Logan's Road: The Logan family owned property in this area in the 1880s, which today is part of the Paeroa Racing Club's property.

Fairview Terrace: The Fairview Land Company, owned by the Kelly family, subdivided these hillside sections.

Ainslie Road: Ainslie was one of the early surveyors in the district, around 1870, when Paeroa was being set out in streets and roads.

Porritt Street: Mr E W Porritt was a prominent solicitor in Paeroa and also Lieutenant Colonel of the Hauraki Regiment in the 1900s.

Edwards Place: Mr Edwin Edwards was a Councillor from 1920 until 1940 and Mayor of Paeroa from 1941 until 1950. He was a prominent businessman and also the son of the founder of the Ohinemuri Gazette in 1891.

Aorangi Road: The area of land to the south of this road, the Shaw Avenue subdivision, is known as the Aorangi Block.

Shaw Avenue: This street provided the main access to a large subdivision completed by Provincial Transport in the late 1970s, early 1980s. The street is named after the Shaw family who have been prominent in Paeroa from the very early times. One, Mr L J Shaw, was a Councillor from 1953 until 1955 and Mayor from 1955 until 1959. Another, Reg Shaw, was prominent in road transport, having his own business and was also linked with Brenan and Company.

Keepa Place: Bill Keepa was a long-serving member of Brenan and Company and Provincial Transport.

Kinsella Place: Arthur Kinsella taught at Paeroa District High School from February 1949 until he won the Hauraki seat for National in that year's General Election. He then represented the Hauraki District in Parliament from 1954 to 1969. During this period he was Postmaster General, Minister of Education and Minister of Broadcasting.

Sarjant Place: Gilbert Sarjant was the owner of Sarjant's Transport of Netherton, which joined with Brenan and Company to form Provincial Transport in the mid 1960s.

The next area we will look at is the area west of the former railway line.

Railway Street: Adjacent to the railway station from 1895 until 1924, before the station was moved.

Lee Avenue: Mr E W Lee served two terms as Councillor, from 1947 until 1953 and from 1954 until 1956 and he was Mayor of Paeroa from 1959 until 1965. He and his brother were partners trading from 1930 as Lee Bros., a large, local building firm. This firm did the subdivision in this area.

Arrow Street: Off Lee Avenue and named after the dairy product name of the Thames Valley Co-operative Dairy company, which developed this staff housing area when they expanded their milk powder factory in the 1970s.

Junction Road: This road linked the town with Junction Wharf, at the junction of the Ohinemuri and Waihou Rivers from the 1880s until the early 1900s. There was a tramway along this road where horse drawn carriages brought passengers and goods from the wharf and into town to the Royal Mail Hotel (RSA Memorial Club).

Menzies Place: The Menzies family were founders and developers of the aerated water company in the 1890s. In 1915, Grey and Menzies took over the production of Paeroa and Lemon from the Paeroa Mineral Water Company.

Maori Flat Road or Maori Road: This road provided access from Junction Road, across the Pereniki Bend to enable coal to be taken from Junction Wharf to the Waihi-Paeroa Gold Extraction plant, 1895 - 1918, on the left bank of the Ohinemuri River, with road access off Mill Road. A flying fox was used to carry the coal across the river and there was a footbridge for the workers.

Opatito Road: The Maori block of land in this area is named Opatito.

George Street, Grey Street: Presumably these two streets were named after Sir George Grey. As Captain Grey he was Governor of New Zealand from 1845 until 1853. Then, as Sir George Grey, he was Administrator 1861 and Governor General 1861 until 1868. He visited Joshua Thorp, the district's first European settler at Puke in 1850, en route to the Bay of Plenty. These two streets ran parallel from railway Street to Moore Road, a paper road linking Junction Road to Grey Street, in the vicinity of where the Paeroa rubbish transfer station is sited.

Dearle Street:

Puke Road: This was one of the earliest roads in Paeroa, giving access from the town to The Puke where the district's first European settlers, Joshua Thorp and his family, had their property. The road also became the access between the town and the Puke wharves which were established around 1900 as the Ohinemuri River silted up. Later the road became the link with the Hauraki Plains and Auckland, with the first bridge over the Waihou River being built in 1915 and replaced in the 1960s. It is now part of State Highway 2, linking Auckland with the Bay of Plenty and one of the busiest highway routes in New Zealand. In the late 1880s and early 1900s, the high ground near Brenan Street was known as Puke Hill.

Flora Street:

Dulcie Street: Miss Dulcie Nicks was a member of an early family. Her first name was Martha and her uncle, William Nicholls, founder of gold in Waihi, named the Martha Mine after her. She is the mother of John Brodie, the noted author, John Guthrie.

Brenan Street: The Brenan family played a very important role in the development of Paeroa, both in service to the community and in the business, Brenan Transport, which commenced business in the 1870s and continued until the early 1960s. Phil Brenan served on the Council from 1915 and until 1919, he was Mayor from 1919 until 1923 and served again on the Council from 1923 until 1938.

Poland Street: Mr Hugh Poland built and lived in a large house in this street from about 1896. He was a Member of the House of Representatives for the district from 1905 until 1925 and he served on the Ohinemuri County Council from 1899 until 1908, including 1901 until 1905 as Chairman. He was a member of the Paeroa Borough Council from 1915 until 1938.

Shoalhaven Street: From the twin-town promotion of the 1970s and 1980s with the Shoalhaven District in New South Wales, 160 kilometres south of Sydney.

Nowra Crescent: Also from the twin-town promotion. Nowra is the main town in the Shoalhaven District.

Coronation Street: Named, no doubt, for the Coronation of King George V in 1908.

Stewart Street: It is likely that a family of Stewart lived at the end of this short road.

Opukeko Road: This is the local name for the area.

Henton Street: The Henton family lived at the end of this road.

Hubbard's Road: The Hubbard family were the early pioneering farmers on this road.

Irwin's Road: Provided access to the Irwin family farm, now to the Paeroa sewage treatment plant.

Now we return to the centre of town.

Belmont Road: Joshua Thorp, who was the first European to settle in the district, named his house and land, Belmont, after the family home in Yorkshire. This was in the vicinity of the Historic Maritime Park and the former Whyte home. There is a cairn on the side of SH2 marking the site of this first home.

Albert Street: Possibly after the Prince Consort, husband of Queen Victoria.

Bradley Street: Thomas Bradley had a large coaching and stables business in the area.

Neil Street: William Neil was a Paeroa Borough foreman from 1915 until 1936. Later his son, "Curly" Neil held the position from 1960 into the late 1970s.

Corbett Street: After the Corbett family. Mr E M Corbett was an inaugural Ohinemuri County Councillor, from 1885 until 1890 and from 1893 until 1898. Mr H M Corbett was a member from 1905 until 1916 and from 1922 until 1929. He was Chairman from 1911 until 1916.

King Street: I presume that like every town there is a King Street, and also a Queen Street, named after Royalty.

Park Street: This street is opposite the Domain and gave access to the early saleyards and later to the Hauraki A and P Show property.

Seth Street: Son of one of Paeroa's founding families, Asher Cassrels, Nahum Seth.

Walmsley Crescent: Walmsley Bros., (Barry and Stuart) Builders, developed the subdivision.

Willoughby Street: Possibly named for Lieutenant Willoughby Shortland RN, who was Acting Governor of New Zealand from 1842 until 1843. There is also a Willoughby Street in the Shortland area of Thames.

William Street: William Towers, a businessman of Paeroa?

Hall Street: John Hall was Prime Minister of New Zealand 1879 to 1882.

Mackay Street: James Mackay, New Zealand Government Commissioner for Hauraki, 1875. He was instrumental in opening the Ohinemuri Goldfields.

Normanby Road: Marquis of Normanby, Governor of New Zealand, 1874 - 1879.

Hughendon Street: Hughendon Manor is a small town, twenty-five miles from London and near to Windsor Castle. This street is shown on a Paeroa map of 1884.

Marshall Street: Mr W H Marshall was Chairman of the Ohinemuri County Council from 1932 to 1944, Mayor of Paeroa from 1919 until 1921 and a Councillor from 1921 until 1941. He was also prominent in the dairy industry.

Wharf Street: This was one of the earliest streets in Paeroa, linking the centre of town with the first public wharf on the Ohinemuri River, 1870.

Francis Street:

Queen Street: See the comment for King Street.

Princes Street: This could also follow on the royalty theme. Princes Street partly replaced The Esplanade when the stopbanks were first erected in the 1913 - 1920 era.

Cassrels Street (non-existent): This street ran between Arney Street and the Criterion Bridge, along the rear of the Criterion Hotel. Asher Cassrels built the Hotel, with its own wharf, in 1875 and rebuilt it in its present plan, in 1897. The road disappeared when the stopbanks were built in the 1980s. Mr Cassrels also served on the Ohinemuri County Council from 1800 until 1802.

The Esplanade (non-existent): This ran between Arney Street and Francis Street, along the right bank of the Ohinemuri River, then along the top of the stopbank erected 1913 - 1920 but disappeared beneath the 1980s stopbank.

Now we look at the last section of the town.

Arney Street: This street was named after Judge Alfred Arney, Chief Justice of New Zealand. He was appointed to the Legislative Council from 1858 until 1866 and was knighted in 1862.

Primrose Hill Drive: The Primrose family lived at the foot of the hill. There was a large picturesque garden called Primrose just outside London and there is a strong belief that the area was named after that garden as the Domain area was being developed in 1904. The Maori name for this hill is Tuikairangi or Kairangi.

Victoria Street: Another early street, named after Queen Victoria.

Thorp Street: This street links Wood Street with Fraser Street. The Thorp family were the first European settlers in the district in 1842.

Fraser Street: Colonel Fraser of Thames became Sergeant of Arms of the House of Representatives in 1882. He served in the New Zealand Volunteers in the Waikato Maori Wars and was the Thames District representative on the Auckland Provincial Council. The Thames County Council was the local authority covering Paeroa and the Ohinemuri District at that time.

Johnson Street (non-existent): The L & P Bottle is now on the site of this former street.

Russell Street: Named after one of the first two people to purchase land in the early 1970s. He then leased sections as Paeroa developed.

Wood Street: Presumably this street was named after a local businessman of the 1880s, George Wood, who died in 1905.

Lewis Street: Named after Asher Cassrel's son.

Nahum Street: Named after Asher Cassrel's son.

Olga Street: Named after Asher Cassrel's daughter.

Bennett Street: Named after Asher Cassrel's business partner, both in the Criterion Hotel and in the early town development.

De Castro Street: G P De Castro was an early chemist in Paeroa and served on the Paeroa Borough Council from 1925 until 1927.

Onslow Street: Earl of Onslow, Governor of New Zealand from 1889 until 1892.

Waihi Road: From the Victoria Street intersection, this was the main road to Karangahake and Waihi, dating back to pre-1870. It is now part of State Highway 2, between Auckland and Bay of Plenty.

Reservoir Road: This road gives access to Paeroa's first water supply (1895) and also to the Pukerimu Cemetery. It was also the first road access from Paeroa to the Waitekauri Goldfields, through the Tarariki Stream Valley. There was an exploratory coal mine in this area in 1886.

Finally, a quick look across the river.

Criterion Bridge: The first bridge was constructed in 1881, replaced in 1887 and again in 1927.

River Road: This road originally ran along the left bank of the Ohinemuri River to a housing settlement situated between the Rawhitiroa Reserve and the railway line. When the stopbanks were replaced in the 1980s, the road moved to its present position.

Rotokohu Road: This road was the original route to Te Aroha, through the Rotokohu Block, passing the golf course and up a steep, narrow gorge and over the top of the range, down to meet Rawhiti Road, and on to Te Aroha. When the present road was opened about 1912, the route was known as the Old Te Aroha Road, although there was limited access. Around 1960, the Ohinemuri County Council renamed the road Rotokohu, as it services that district.

Te Moananui Flats Road: Access to the Ngahutoitoi Marae and its settlement.

Thorp Road: The Thorp family farmed much of the surrounding area. This road was also the route from Paeroa to the Tirohia - Cadman's Road area, until the present road was opened in 1912.

Papaturoa Avenue: Services the Pai-o-Hauraki Marae village.

Mill Road: There were early flax, flour and timber mills, together with the Waihi-Paeroa Gold Extraction Works along this road. Later, it provided access to some thirteen farms.

Karaka Road: A short road into the settlement of the same name to provide access to an old timber mill site and later, a Government-sponsored settlement built just after the Second World War.

Gerrand's Road: Access to the Gerrand family farm.

Ryall Road: The Ryall family farmed property on this road.

Belmont Road, looking from Wharf Street west

Belmont Road, looking from Wharf Street west, showing the tramway which connected Paeroa's centre to the Junction Wharves some 3 kilometres in the far distance.

Paeroa Street Names
Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 48, September 2004
Belmont Road, looking from Wharf Street west

[For Waihi street names see: Waihi Street Names - E]