On the street where you
Have you ever wondered about the history
of the street where you live?
Even though the Flagstaff/Rotoruna area is a new dormitory suburb
with new streets, new shopping centres and new schools, it has
a settlement history going back to 1865.
The land was mostly developed by members
of the 4th Waikato Militia who had dreams of owning their own
farms and building communities for their families.
Consequently many of the roads and streets were named after these
early pioneers who drained the swaps and turned the scrubby land
into fertile farms.
Your house, your street now sits on land rich in their history.
We moved to our new home on Hukanui
Road eight years ago. Opposite was a farm. From my window I could
see sheep grazing next to an old villa house. The red rural delivery
van dropped off mail and newspapers. Now, gone are the old camellia,
pine, cabbage and palm trees. All cut down.
I have wondered what "Hukanui"
means and had a variety of interpretations: lots of frost, lots
of huka as in Huka Falls. What do other place names mean?
The Maori name for the area is Te Turanga
O Koura, named after the chieftainess Koura. The area is now
known as Flagstaff/Rototuna.
ROTOTUNA means eel lake ...
The name FLAGSTAFF came about when vessels used the river as
a means of transport. A flagstaff was erected and used to mark
the entrance into the region.
HORSHAM DOWNS was named after a district in England.
Source: Hamilton City Council.
THOMAS road was named after Frederick G Thomas from Bristol.
He owned land and a house on the corner of Thomas and Hukanui
He died in 1888 and a portion of his farm and house was sold
to Mr Macdonald.
Source: Annals of Rototuna by May
(and I believe it is on this farm that our house sits. This area
was once called the Promised Land as many original land owners
were strong Christians)
It is a shame that our newer street
naming has been left to developers to decide. As a result colourless
and characterless names that have no relevance to our locality
have been chosen.
One way of increasing our connection
to our neighbourhood is to find out our history. The foundation
of our community is a legacy to us. Let's build on it.