Maude_Road.jpg Maude Road sign (2020). Mike Gooch. Word on the street image collection.

Maude Road is tucked up under the Pouakai Ranges in the shadow of Maude Peak and both owe their name to an English princess who later became the Queen of Norway.

Princess Maud (somewhere along the line the name of the road and the peak acquired an ‘e’) was the youngest daughter of King Edward VII and was born in 1869 which coincided with a period of European exploration of access routes and tracks up the Pouakai Ranges and Mount Taranaki.

Presumably it is for this reason the road and the peak were named after this obscure member of the royal family. Her birth was noted in the Taranaki Herald in 1871.  Naming significant landmarks after members of the British royal family and other nobility was common practice of the time.

Princess Maud was the fifth child of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales and Alexandra, Princess of Wales. Her father became King Edward VII for the relatively short period of nine years on the death of his mother Queen Victoria in 1901.  

Maud, whose royal title was Maud of Wales, was known as a tomboy and did not marry until in her late twenties. She married Prince Carl of Denmark who through a series of unusual occurrences was unexpectedly crowned King Haakon of Norway in 1906, making Maud, Queen of Norway. She died in London in 1938.

Apart from its royal connection, Maude Road appears to have had a quiet history from its beginnings, probably around 1871 when the Taranaki Herald noted that several miles of “bush roads” had been opened up, including half a mile of Maude Road.

In December 1889 fire ravished farmland on the road and the surrounding area for 24 hours in which resulted in the loss of significant amount of feed for stock and fencing but luckily no dwellings. By 1897 more land on Maude Road was listed for sale. Advertisements noted it was “good bush land” that had recently been cleared and grassed except for “30 acres of shelter bush”.

This story was originally published in the Taranaki Daily News.

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