Victoria_Rd_009_large.jpg Victoria Road sign (2015). Mike Gooch. Word on the Street image collection.

Prior to the development of Pukekura Park, New Plymouth's 'green belt' included crown-owned reserve land in lower Vogeltown known as Victoria Park. The area was leased to local farmers for grazing.

As New Plymouth expanded the land became much sought-after by people wanting housing sites. Victoria Road was formed in the early 1860s, running through the reserve to make the area available for sale. At the time, there was much controversy about the costs incurred to build the road.

There was a further controversy in 1907, after houses were established in the area. This time a large sign was erected by one of the residents warning against the 'evils of drink'. Unsurprisingly it was repeatedly knocked down by members of the public.

Early 20th century surveys of the area show a proposed road arrangement looking very different to what has transpired. It was originally intended that Fillis Street and Victoria Road intersect, also that Victoria Road and Carrington Street be connected by a Davy Road. Another survey shows two no-exit streets off Victoria Road, immediately to the south. These plans never eventuated and today, a house at number 18 Victoria Road stands where Davy Road would have met Victoria Road.

It was in the 1950s housing boom that many of the original sections in the area began to be subdivided in significant numbers, this time for smaller more intensive use. Further subdivision has continued to this day as property values have increased.

For many years the Pukekura Park Tennis Club's courts were located on Victoria Road, situated near the intersection with Shortland Street, on the Pukekura Park side of the road.

With the development of Pukekura Park from the 1870s, the original Victoria Park was soon forgotten. Now, only the road name remains to remind us of it.


This story was originally published in the Taranaki Daily News.

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