Names

Naming places can be a very important way of claiming ownership. The New Zealand Company when they arrived in Port Nicholson in 1840 busily set about naming every bay, hill, beach and rise. When it seemed the town which is now Wellington was going to be settled at Petone (Pito One in those days, the northern part of the harbour), the Company bosses started with the names of  royals, generals, commanders, and famous battles (Victoria, Waterloo, Britannia). Then themselves (Wakefield, Molesworth, Evans, Jernigham).

Then, if you drive along the Esplanade in Petone you come across streets named after the immigrant ships in neat order of arrival – Tory, Cuba, Aurora, Oriental. Was it accidental that these streets align north to south? The ships certainly travelled that way.

Later that first year, when the decision was made to transfer the settlement to the southern end of the harbour, the naming of streets began all over again. So we have a second Tory Street, Cuba Street, Aurora Terrace and Oriental Bay. The early postmen who had no benefit of postcodes, must have had a puzzling time.

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