Struthers_Place.jpg Struthers Place sign (2020). Rachel Sonius. Word on the street image collection.

Struthers Place runs off Rifle Range Road in Waiwhakaiho and was named after Robert Struthers.

In August 1997 tenders were called for the development of the Waiwhakaiho industrial subdivision. As part of the project Rifle Range Road, formed 10 years before this, was lengthened. A new cul-de-sac was also constructed in conjunction with the extra section of Rifle Range Road to serve the subdivision, now home to The Valley Mega Centre, and named Struthers Place.

This little dead-end street lay on land that had once been occupied by the Taranaki County Council, and used as the site of their works depot. It was suggested by the New Plymouth District Council Works and Services Department that the cul-de-sac be named Struthers Place in recognition of the man who had managed this depot.

Robert Watson Struthers, known as Bob, had been Taranaki County Engineer for nearly 32 years when he retired in 1986. Born in 1922, he moved to New Plymouth from Rotorua with his family in 1954 in order to take up the role. One of his many projects had been to oversee the sealing of every road in the county, giving Taranaki the highest percentage of sealed roads in New Zealand at the time.

Bob was also a keen flyer, having been part of the RNZAF Home Service during the Second World War. He was a founding member of the Taranaki Gliding Club and in 1969 set the record for a glider flight from German Hill airfield near Egmont Village, covering 180 kilometres.

Bob Struthers and his wife Patricia had three children and eight grandchildren. He died in New Plymouth on 30 January 1993 and is buried in Onerahi Cemetery in Whangarei.

This story was originally published in the Taranaki Daily News.

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