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Copyright © 2007, 2008, 2009 Edith Morris


Catchword Corner

September 2007

On the street where you live.

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 roads.
He died in 1888 and a portion of his farm and house was sold to Mr Macdonald.
Source: Annals of Rototuna by May Thompson.
(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.