History of Street Names

A litte early Tokoroa history
The Major Subdividers
Selected street names

Street names in the South Waikato were often aligned to significant subdividers that have helped shape our towns and rural areas. This page records the background of Tokoroa street names - which is our largest town. 

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A little early Tokoroa history

Tokoroa is one of the most recent towns in New Zealand history. It was first developed around 1948, as a residential satellite for the then proposed new timber mill, which was to be called Kinleith (now Oji).

There had been a very small farming community in the Tokoroa/Kinleith area from the early twenties, but the bush sickness caused by a cobalt deficiency in the soil 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 (then Carter Holt Harvey) resulted in a timber processing plant being needed to process the 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 construction of the mill startedand New Zealand Forest Products began 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 Council. The involvement of the Matamata County Council in these subdivisions was unusual as traditionally, local authorities did not engage in this activity. However, a lack of housing forced action on the part of the county council, transit houses were built on three substantial subdivisions (the Kruse, Hartley and Hicks Block). The council 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, Korima​ko (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 reflects 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 (meaning water).

The earliest large private subdivision was undertaken between 1953 and 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 CountyCouncil 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, many of which 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 (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 are as follows:

Bridge Street
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 is named after a bridge that was never built!

Balmoral Drive
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.

Giles Street
This street was named after Mr Ron Giles who was a resident of Tokoroa from around 1960 to 1985, when he relocated to the Bay of Plenty. He is reported to have bought the land from the Walsh family.

Inman Avenue
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 1990s. 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
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 has since passed away and is buried in the Amisfield cemetery. 

Lion Drive
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.

Arthur Street
This was named after Arthur Kruse whose daughter Grace (of Grace Crescent) married Noel Saunders.

Noel Street
This is understood to be named after Noel Saunders, being part of the original Kruse Block.

Baird Road
Baird Road was named after James (Jack) Baird Campbell who was the original Manager of the Matarawa Land Company. He 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.

Campbell Street
This street is also named after James Baird Campbell.

John Street
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.

Duke Street
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.

Logan Street
Named after Mr JK 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.

Mossop Road
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.

Sloss Road
This is named after Mr Sloss who was a local land owner about the turn of the century.

Billah Street
There is 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.

O'Sullivan Drive
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.

Croad Place
Named after Mr Alan Croad, a developer from Matamata, who purchased and sold various parts of Tokoroa.

Chambers Street
Named after Mr TH '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.

Leith Place
Named after the 'Water of Leith' (River Leith) south of Edinburgh in Scotland on which the original Kinleith Mill lies. Sir David started his career in this Scottish mill, a very old establishment originating from 1792.

Juniper Green
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.

Newell Road
Named after Mr L Newell, a local farmer and member of the Tokoroa Progress League Association 1949.

Rollett Road
Named after the Rollett brothers who arrived about 1910 and leased land north of Tokoroa

West Road
Named after the West Brothers, John (a journalist) and Ha​rry (a cartoonist) who arrived in 1912 and leased land in the area of the present road.

Page reviewed: 19 Feb 2018 4:11pm