A litte early Tokoroa history
The Major Subdividers
Selected street names
The street names of the district have significant meanings and were purposely allocated by various subdividers in the past. This page attempts to record the background of Tokoroa street names. If you have any suggestions, amendments, corrections or additions to the information contained on this page, please contact the Public Relations Manager at the South Waikato District Council.
A little early Tokoroa history
Tokoroa is one of the most recent towns in New Zealand history. It first developed around 1948, as a residential satellite for the then proposed new timber mill, which was to be called Kinleith.
There had been a very small farming community in the Tokoroa/Kinleith area from the early twenties, but the "bush sickness" caused by the cobalt deficiency had resulted in little early successful farming activity. Trees however grew satisfactorily.
Forestry plantations from 1925 (especially, just prior to and during the depression) planted by New Zealand Perpetual Forests and later in 1935 by New Zealand Forest Products (now Carter Holt Harvey) resulted in a timber processing plant being required to use these trees. To achieve this Kinleith and Tokoroa developed.
Kinleith was named by David Henry, the then director of the mill, in recognition of the Kinleith Paper Mill on the waters of Leith near the Pentland Hills and Edinburgh in Scotland.
From 1950 onwards, when mill construction commenced and New Zealand Forest Products started employing forest felling gangs and factory workers, the community of Tokoroa swelled rapidly. Subdivisions were undertaken by the company and later, in 1960 supported by private industry and the then Matamata County. The involvement of the Matamata County in these subdivisions was interesting. Local authorities did not normally engage in this activity. However, lack of housing forced action on their part, and 28 transit houses were subsequently built on three substantial subdivisions (the Kruse, Hartley and Hicks Block) which now occupy approximately one quarter of the present residential area. The county was also involved in lesser subdivisions such as the Sminia Block.
Each subdivider added a new flavour to the street names used, with the result that different parts can still be identified simply by looking at these names.
The Major Subdividers
While there have been a number of smaller subdivisions, some larger subdivisions were evident. The first and by far the largest was New Zealand Forest Products. The Kinleith Director of Forest Products from 1936 to 1963, *Sir David Henry, who passed away in August 1963, enthusiastically named most of the early Forest Products subdivisions after places near Edinburgh in his home country of Scotland.
Examples include: Currie, Colinton, Kinross, Glendevon, Linton, Aberfoyle, Solway, Arran, Montrose, Inveresk, St Andrews, Abercorn, Melrose, Granton, Benmore, Lochmaben, Kenmore, Dumfries, Alloa, Moffat, Dunbar, Pentland, Howick, Bonaly, Jedburgh, Esk, Ettrick, Clyde, Balmoral, Osborne, Girvan, Tweed, Berwick, Muirend, Crathie, Tay, Nevis, Lanark, Lomond, Dalmeny and Strathmore.
The later Forest Product subdivisions, mostly in the south western sector of Tokoroa were named after native birds. Examples include: Pukeko, Kuku (NZ Pigeon), Kea, Piopio (Thrush), Weka, Matata (Fern Bird), Tui, Toroa (Albatross), Takahe, Korimako (Bellbird), Moa, Kereru (NZ Pigeon), Ruru (Morepork), Tarapunga (Red Bill Gull), Poaka (Stilt), Kororo (Penguin), Tieke (Saddleback), Kotare (Kingfisher), Kiwi and the extinct Huia.
The most recent New Zealand Forest Product subdivisions reflect Maori "water" names from different parts of New Zealand such as: Waipuna, Waimea, Wairakei , Waianawa, Waitara, Waikato, Waimati, Waitangi, Waiiti and Wairoa. All of which start with Wai.
The earliest large private subdivision was undertaken between 1953 - 1955 on the Kruse Block and the streets were named after the Kruse family or the places where they had previously lived. The areas from which the Kruse family came from or lived were: Kapuni, Papanui and Manaia. Their family names include: Arthur (Father), Grace (Daughter) who is married to Noel Saunders (Noel Street), Maisie (Daughter) and Stanley (Son).
The balance of the Kruse property was sold to the Matamata County who subdivided it. The County developed this land and the Hicks and Hartley Blocks in stages. Each stage was given a character of its own, for example, the Royal Family: Margaret, Windsor, Andrew, George, Philip, Kent, Anne, Thompson, Charles, Edward, Mountbatten and Ferguson
In the part to the north they used native tree names like: Karaka, Korimako, Matai, Kowhai, Pohutukawa, Puriri, Kauri, Totara, Rimu and Rata Street (later changed to Hinau Street).
In the community housing and pensioner flat subdivision European tree names were used like: Oak, Maple and Walnut.
Other private subdivisions have a variety of names with the largest being that of PTY. (Putaruru Timber Yard) commonly called the Parkdale Subdivision. Most of the street names in this subdivision are named after places in England such as: Banbury, Manfield, Brighton, Marlborough, Bedford, Parkdale, Richmond, Wykeham, Lingfield and Melton.
Another subdivision to create interesting street names was undertaken in the Ireland Block in the north western sector, i.e. the Paraonui area. These streets were named after explorers. This theme was also extended to other areas and include:
- Kupe (discoverer of NZ with Ngahue in canoe Matahorua)
- Ngahue (co-explorer with Kupe - came in canoe Tawiri-rangi)
- Tasman and Zeehan (Zeehan was one of Tasman's ships)
- Arawa (one of the original canoes)
- Aotea (canoe in which Turi sailed).
Selected Street Names
The various smaller subdividers provided unique names, sometimes after themselves. A selection of these is as follows:
This street was named in 1946 by the Tokoroa Progress League when it was envisaged that Bridge Street would have a bridge over the railway line linking State Highway 1 to Billah Street to avoid the level crossing. While the bridge was never built the name remained; hence Bridge Street was named after the bridge that was never built!
Sir David Henry renamed Butler Drive, as Balmoral Drive. The Butler family came to Tokoroa in 1926 and bought their property now known as the Strathmore suburb in 1935. It was sold by them to New Zealand Forest Products in 1960. The Butler family still have members residing in the Tokoroa locality and must clearly remember the change of name from Butler's Drive to Balmoral Drive.
Named after Mr Ron Giles who was a resident of Tokoroa from approximately 1960 to 1985, when he relocated to the Bay of Plenty. He is reported to have bought the land from the Walsh family.
This is named after Mr "Andy" Marshall-Inman, who like Mr Giles, was a long standing member of the community.
Princess Beatrix Avenue
This is a street leading to the James Higgins Park and was named after Princess Beatrix of Holland following her official visit with husband Claus von Amsberg to Tokoroa in the early 1990's. Princess Beatrix, who was actually crowned queen on 30 April 1980, visited Tokoroa to view one of the largest Dutch communities in New Zealand. In honour of her visit to the then new YMCA complex, the street was named after her.
Ashworth Street is named after the Ashworth family, some of whom stil live in the area. The original owner was Mr Lance Ashworth, father of Ken Ashworth and Dolly White. Ken recently passed away and is buried in the Amisfield cemetery. His daughter Robyn reckons her father is probably still yelling at his dogs to get the cows in!
When the original Tokoroa water supply reservoir was constructed the Lions Club of Tokoroa, considered the view was the best available. The Lions Club raised sufficient funds to purchase the road leading to the reservoir to allow public the right of access. They then donated ownership of this road to the Matamata County Council on the understanding it was named Lion Drive.
This was named after Arthur Kruse whose daughter Grace (of Grace Crescent) married Noel Saunders.
This is understood to be named after Noel Saunders, being part of the original Kruse Block.
Baird Road was named after James (Jack) Baird Campbell who was the original Manager of the Matarawa Land Company. This gentleman later married one of the Sloper family who had the original Butcher Shop in Tokoroa. Mrs Mabel Sloper who Mr Campbell married (second marriage) is Ken Ashworth's grandmother.
This street is also named after James Baird Campbell.
This Street was named after John Turner, a Canadian who came to work for New Zealand Forest Products as Assistant Pulp Mill Manager, who later subdivided the area, now known as John Street and Turner Place.
This name was born out of Marma"duke" Street.
Harry Martin Drive
John Paxton, the original Forestry Administrator for New Zealand Forest Products and later surveyor who became a partner of the firm Harrison Grierson and Paxton. The plane table used by Mr Paxton in the early surveys is now on display in the Council Chambers having been donated by Mr Harry Martin, (now deceased). This Mr Martin leaves his hallmark in "Harry Martin Drive" in Putaruru.
Named after Mr J K Logan who was one of the founding partners of the firm now known as Grayburn, Ross & Partners. Mr Logan was an early Chairman of the "Town Committee" (1957) and an inaugural member of the Tokoroa Citizens and Ratepayers' Association, formed 4 December 1950.
John Mossop was a long standing land owner in the District and the road was named after him. His son Campbell still resides in the Mossop Road Homestead. Another son lives in the Hawkes Bay. This family were responsible for donating a large part of the Tokoroa Memorial Sportsground which is adjacent to Mossop Road. Hence the Mossop Memorial Gates to the Sportsground.
This is named after Mr Sloss who was a local land owner about the turn of the century.
Some debate about the origin of this name arises but it is understood to have resulted from a spelling mistake when it was named by Arthur Kruse after his wife Lillah.
Named after Mr Bernard "Bernie" O'Sullivan, who originally farmed in the Kinleith area, then relocated to Tokoroa. Mr O'Sullivan spent many years on the Tokoroa Borough Council as Chairman of the Works Committee. Family members still reside in the District. This street was formerly called Slateford Street. Slateford was a village near Edinburgh.
Named after Mr Alan Croad, a developer of Matamata, who purchased and sold various parts of Tokoroa.
Named after Mr T H ("Chook") Chambers who started an early Lands and Survey Department in this area. Mr Chambers passed away in early 1995, and family members still reside in Tokoroa.
Named after the "Water of Leith" (River Leith) south of Edinburgh in Scotland on which the original Kinleith Mill lies. Sir David commenced his career in this Scottish mill, a very old establishment originating from 1792.
Not a true street but is the name given to a private NZFP accessway (and Sir David's original residence) between Tay and Dee Streets. Named after a village near the Scottish Kinleith Mill, and was the village Sir David came from.
Colinton Place and Currie Street
Named after a village on the "Water of Leith" walk near Edinburgh in Scotland near the Scottish Kinleith Mill.
Named after Mr L Newell, a local farmer and member of the Tokoroa Progress League Association 1949.
Named after the Rollett brothers who arrived about 1910 and leased land 4 - 5 kilometres north of the current urban area.
Named after the West Brothers, John (a journalist) and Harry (a cartoonist) who arrived in 1912 and leased land in the area of the present road.