City Centre, Elsdon and Takapuwahia Signpost stories

"Historians are gossips who tease the dead."

- Voltaire, Scribbling books.

Signpost Stories was an exhibition at Pataka Museum from October 2004 to January 2005 which explored the history behind, and the meanings of the names of the streets, avenues, lanes and groves of Porirua City. Follow this link to find out more information about Pataka's Signpost Stories Exhibition.

Signpost stories of the City Centre

Elsdon Signpost stories

Elsdon is named after Elsdon Best

Elsdon is named after an early New Zealand historian, Elsdon Best. He was born in Tawa 30 June 1836 and despite early in his career being involved in the 1881 raid on Parihaka, he spent many of his later years living in the bush learning the history of the land from local Maori all over the North Island. He studied and recorded many archaeological sites in the Porirua region and was a regular visitor to Takapuwahia.

Awarua Street - Named after the Taniwha of Porirua Harbour, “Te Awarua o Porirua”. According to legend, he was very roughly treated by Tara, the first Maori to settle in Wellington, and he has been well behaved since. Possibly he had something to do with the fault line which runs up Porirua Harbour.

Gluepot Lane - Named in honour of Ashley’s Wallpaper factory, which was nearby.

Heriot Drive - Heriot is a small town in the South Island where the Todd organization began its activities in 1912.

Kahika Grove - Just east of the old Prosser Homestead there was a village of Ngati Ira tribe known as Te Uru Kahika (grove of the white pine).

Kotuku Street - Kotuku: white heron

Prosser Street - Prosser is the street that runs through land which was owned by the Prosser family of Josh and Raiha. Their homestead was near the present road. Josh and Raiha trained and raced a series of very successful horses in the 1880s.

Raiha Street - Named after Raiha Puaha, daughter of the Ngati Toa chief Rawiri Puaha. She married Josh Prosser.

Waiho Terrace - From an old Maori proverb “Waiho; Porirua; te kainga ururua” this was used as advice to stay at home at Porirua and not undertake the rigours and hazards of travel and war. “Waiho” means “to linger”.

Streets named after the legend of Kupe

Aparangi Crescent - Named after Kupe’s wife. She first sighted N.Z. crying “Look a white cloud” and so New Zealand was named Aotearoa.

Hukatai Street - Kupe and his explorers landed at Porirua. His daughter, Mohuia found a bright white stone which was very suitable as a canoe anchor. She named it Huke-atai (sea foam) and it was taken aboard.

Mohuia Crescent - One of Kupe’s daughters.

Muturangi Grove - Kupe had trouble with a giant octopus which kept taking the fish from his nets and finally devoured his favourite daughter. This octopus was in league with his enemy Muturangi. Thus the octopus was known as Te Whake-o-Muturangi.

Ngahue Crescent - Ngahue was Kupe’s friend who travelled with him on his voyages.

Links to more information

City Centre Signpost stories

Streets named after Governor Generals and their country residences

Cobham Court - Sir Charles John Lyttleton, 10th Viscount Cobham, 1909-1977, Governor General 1957-1962.

Hagley Street - Hagley Hall, Stourbridge, Worcestershire was the country residence of Viscount Cobham.

Hartham Place - Hartham was the country residence of Sir John Poynder Islington, 1st Baron 1866-1936, Governor General 1910-1912, was Hartham Park, in Corshan, Wiltshire.

Jellicoe Street - Sir John Rushworth Jellicoe, 1st Viscount 1859-1930, Governor General 1920-1924.

Kilkerran Place - Country residence of General Sir Charles Fergusson, 1865-1951, Governor General 1924-1930. Kilkerran is at Maybole in Ayrshire.

Lydney Place - Country residence of Sir Charles Bathurst Bledisloe, 1st Viscount 1867-1958, Governor General 1930-1935. Lydney Park is in Gloucestershire.

Lyttleton Avenue - Sir Charles John Lyttleton, 10th Viscount Cobham, 1909-1977, Governor General 1957-1962.

Newall Street - Sir Cyril Louis Norton Newall, 1st Baron 1886-1963, Governor General 1941-1946.

Norrie Street - Lieutenant-General Sir Charles Willoughby Moke Norrie, 1893-1977, Governor General 1952-1957.

Serlby Place - Country residence of Sir George Vere Arundell Monckton-Arundell Galway, 1882-1943, Governor General 1935-1941. Serlby Hall is at Bawtry in Yorkshire.

Walton Leigh Avenue - Country residence of Sir Cyril Louis Norton Newall, 1st Baron 1886-1963, Governor General 1941-1946. Walton Leigh is at Adddlestone, Surrey.

More Porirua City Street names

Auty Lane - Named after Robert Richard Auty, who established a store and bakery in Porirua in 1869 and ran the post office from 1898-1903.

Blue Heron Lane - Formerly adjacent to the Blue Heron Motel.

Bluff Road - Situated on a high bank above the Porirua Road.

Broken Hill - Reflective of industrial area.

Bullock Lane - The Bullock's were a family who lived on the Titahi Bay Road.

Civic Place - Close proximity to the Municipal Buildings.

Durie Street - David Stark Durie, Inspector of Police in the 1840s and active in pursuing Te Rangihaeata at Pauatahanui and on the Kapiti Coast.

Eastwood Avenue - This is understood to be named after T.H.(Harry) Eastwood, an early settler and Councillor for the Porirua Riding of Makara County. He was a Councillor for two terms covering the period 1908 to 1914.

Ferry Place - Was in close proximity to Jackson’s Ferry.

Kapuni Grove - Industrial themed name after Kapuni gas fields.

Kenepuru Drive - Kenepuru Stream.

Kinleith Grove - Industrial themed name after Kinleith paper mills.

Lodge Place - After the Ngatitoa Lodge Building in Hartham Court.

Parumoana Street - Refers to estuary nature of the harbour; Paru: muddy or dirty, moana: sea

Semple Street - Hon. Robert Semple, Minister of Public Works from 1935.

Station Road - Formerly the main road of Porirua Village connecting to the railway station.

Trask Place - Mrs Lily Trask was a well known resident who lived nearby.

Tutu Place - Tutu was the nickname of former Councillor Wineera who served from 1965 to 1972.

Wall Place - The Wall family the owned land in which the street is located.

Wi-neera Drive - Named after the Wi-neera family.

Hospital Street Names

Streets are named according to their destination:

  • Admissions Crescent
  • Ambulance Drive
  • Clinic Crescent
  • Hospital Drive
  • Trades Road

Links to more information

For more information about any of the Governor-Generals listed above, please go to the Dictionary of New Zealand.

Takapuwahia Signpost stories

The streets around the Marae are named for prominent leaders of Ngati Toa; Nohorua, Te Hiko, Puaha etc. This reflects the fact that Takapuwahia is an old Marae that the city has grown up around rather than a new marae built around a growing population.

Akeake Grove - Akeake: poor land or continuation in time (eternity).

Chapel Street - Leads to the Latter Day Saints Church.

Mahinawa Street - Mahinawa: the stream that runs beside Elsdon Park and name of land block that the park and Mana College sits on.

Mataiwhetu Street - Mataiwhetu: the name of Joe Prosser’s original homestead.

Ngatitoa Street - Ngati Toa are the tangata whenua of Porirua.

Nohorua Street - Te Rauparaha’s elder half brother and Ngati Toa tohunga.

Puaha Street - Ngati Toa chief Rawiri Puaha

Rangituhu Crescent - Rangituhu: the name of land block, now reserve land.

Takapuwahia Drive - Takapuwahia: a locality near Kawhia that the local Ngati Toa marae was named after.

Tangare Drive - Tangare: a small nearby stream.

Tau Grove - Tau: new year, season.

Te Arataura Street - Te Arataura: the name given to the demarcation line which marked the border of the land defining Ngati Toa land as settled by the government in 1852.

Te Arawi Street - Te Arawi: the name of coastal pa outside the entrance to Kawhia Harbour where Te Rauparaha and his tribe lived before migrating to Porirua.

Te Hiko Street - Te Hiko: a Ngati Toa chief Te Hiko O Te Rangi, the son of Te Peehi.

Continue to Historic Photos of Porirua City Centre or return to Porirua City Centre, Elsdon and Takapuwahia.