Originally part of Cowling Road, it was renamed in 1952 after the acclaimed nurseryman Sir Victor Caddy Davies.

Born in 1887 and educated at Frankley School, Sir Victor was apprenticed at the age of 14 to Mr. J.R. Duncan who, three years earlier, had started a small exotic nursery in Westown. Davies became a partner in 1910 and so began the firm Duncan and Davies Limited.

Its early success was based on cultivating boxthorn and barberry for fencing in place of barbed wire. From this small concern it grew to become a company of international stature with exports of native and exotic species to many countries. For many years it maintained its headquarters in the Westown area, on the corner of Wallath Road and Tukapa Street, before moving its base to Brixton in 1970.

A member of numerous local Trusts and Boards, Sir Victor encouraged the planting of shrubs and trees throughout the New Plymouth district. During the 1930s depression he supervised the planting of large areas of trees on the edge of the Kaitake Ranges including most notably 200 redwoods at Lucy’s Gully, near Ōākura.

Married in 1922 to Dorothy Ella Ruebe, they had three daughters and two sons, both boys following their father into the firm. After being awarded an OBE for services to horticulture in 1954 he was made a Knight Bachelor in 1977. He was presented with the insignia and citation in February at Taranaki Base Hospital by the mayor, Mr. D.V. Sutherland.

Following his death in March 1977 the Sir Victor Davies Foundation was established to encourage research into ornamental horticulture. A long serving Rotarian, local Rotary clubs instigated the establishment of Sir Victor Davies Memorial Park on the banks of the Huatoki Stream in the centre of town. In recent years a stunning purple camellia japonica has been named Victor Davies, a fitting tribute to a remarkable plants-man.  

This story was originally published in the Taranaki Daily News.

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