Blagdon Road takes its name from a farm owned by William Bayly, one of Taranaki’s pioneer settlers and earliest entrepreneurs. Mr Bayly’s farm was called Blagdon Farm after a family farm also called Blagdon in North Tamerton, England.

Born in 1807, William Bayly arrived in New Zealand in 1841 with his wife Elizabeth, his brothers Thomas and James and their wives. They were a family of businessmen, expanding their empire throughout New Plymouth. During the course of his career, Bayly was a director of the Freezing Works Company, a member of the Taranaki County Council, on the New Plymouth Harbour Board and on the Taranaki Provincial Council. He also owned a sawmill, a butcher’s shop and was in a trust that held New Plymouth’s first Baptist Church.

In August 1969, following the construction of Shell BP Todd’s oil drilling rig in Blagdon, industrialisation in the area grew and it was decided that there was an increased need for residential land in New Plymouth. As a result, Pukeori pā at the junction of Blagdon and Ōmata roads was levelled.

Looking back, this seems like a contentious decision. The pā was one of the best preserved Māori ridge pā in New Plymouth. There were originally four pā in a 200 yard (183 metre) radius of one another, yet a hunger for residential land has claimed three. An authority at the time stated that there were “so many of them that some have to go” and the deal was done.

This illustrates how times have changed: Māori culture and heritage is more highly prized in New Zealand society today and the decision to level a pā site now would not be made lightly.

This story was originally published in the Taranaki Daily News.

Related plan:

Blagdon Road subdivision (1953) DP7313, ICS Pre 300,000 Cadastral Plan Index (Imaged by LINZ)

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