Many people will wonder if Campbell Road in Otakeho is Taranaki’s shortest road. Plans show it was originally intended to be much longer.

The first survey of the Otakeho district was conducted in 1878. A small settlement was mapped out. It shows the road extending from near the coast, through the main road to a point north of the town, where it turns right and intersects with Auroa Road.

It was named after George (Geordie) Campbell, who lived in a small house there. He was a veteran of the Crimean War who later came to South Taranaki and worked as a carpenter.

St. John the Divine Church was built in the early 1890s, near the main road. Campbell Road may have existed in its original form as a dirt track. But when it was metalled, then sealed, only that length from the main road to the church was completed.

As an old man, ‘Geordie’ Campbell had a stooped posture. People said of him that if they could straighten him up he would be well over six feet [1.83m] tall. He left the district in 1912, to be cared for in an old-folks home.

This story was originally published in the Taranaki Daily News.

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