Approaching Waverley from the south, just before State Highway 3 makes a sharp bend in the direction of Waverley’s main street, is a diminutive road with the charming name of Grassey Lane.

Travellers, and Waverley locals alike, may have contemplated the origins of this road’s name and those who do not have an eye for correct spelling may not have noticed at the extra ‘e’ and merely assumed the name reflects the appearance of the road. This assumption is a fair one to make as for most of its existence the road was totally unsealed and therefore a grassy strip ran down the middle of it. Even today, only the first section of this road is sealed.

However, while there is some uncertainty about the reason for its current name, some locals believe it is possible that this lane may been previously known, to locals at least, as Hoopers Lane.

Yorkshireman Isaac Lupton arrived in the district in 1868 and bought a section of land, described as “swamp land and sandy country”, from a former soldier, which was described as being at the end of Hoopers Lane. This is now in the vicinity of the current Grassey Lane. It was here Isaac built his first humble home, before building a larger home at the end of present-day Lupton Street and purchasing other large sections around Grassey Lane, along with fellow settler John Morton. The Luptons remain a well-known Waverley family.

Just who Hooper’s Lane was named after, is also not clear. And to add to the name mystery, on a 1908 cadastral map the road is simply called Old Road Line and in again in a 1919 map it is even more simply called Road.

Unless new information comes to light it seem we shall have to assume that this road was most likely named Grassey in the early 20 century, because it was exactly that. There are several other instances of the spelling grassey being used interchangeably with grassy in local newspaper articles, so perhaps this explains the irregular spelling.


This story was originally published in the Taranaki Daily News.



Waverley, the early years, Laraine Sole TRC993.488 SOL

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