Wakefield street names


What's in a name?

The relevance of many of the following names of streets and places around Wakefield can be found on the Tasman Heritage website or by trawling through Marion Stringer’s book “Just Another Row of Spuds” and the Waimea South Historical publication “From River to Range”.

Pitfure road from church hill wakefieldresized

Pitfure Road from Church Hill. Waimea South Collection on Tasman Heritage.

It is not complete.  I have not included names of places where there was an abundance of pigeons, quails, or pigs. And there is one modern street name which has defied investigation: Anslow Place, but there is someone who will know. Please tell us.

Arnold’s Lane:  To honour an early European settler, James Arnold, who settled at Spring Grove on the western side of the Wai-iti River.  The lane that bears his name runs between sections 40 and 65.

Arrow Street:  Originally a short, bent track leading from the hotel called “Shin-bone Alley” because of the kink in it.  When Whitby Road was developed the lane was extended to join up and called “Arrow Street” after one of three ships commanded by Capt. Arthur Wakefield on his exploratory voyage in 1841.

Barton’s Lane:  To honour an early settler, James Barton, an early newspaper reporter who lived in this area with his wife, Jane.  She was a nurse.  He trained as a druggist and dispenser and was also a Church of Christ minister.

Bastin Terrace:  To honour an early prominent builder.

Belfit Lane:  To honour Dr Belfit, a dedicated local GP who worked in Wakefield for many years.

Belgrove:  The Morrison family, who settled in this area, named their property “The Grove.”  Later, the name of their neighbours, Bell, was joined to this, making Belgrove (Originally Bell Grove).

Bird Lane/Road:  To honour John Bird, an early settler.

Clifford Road:  The ship which brought Edward Baigent and his family to New Zealand.

Currin’s Lane:  To honour an early settler, Thomas Currin, a second generation New Zealander who owned land – section 69 at Spring Grove.

Edward Street: To honour Edward Baigent, Wakefield’s pioneer settler.

88 Valley:  The number of surveyed Section 88 which begins on the southern boundary of Wakefield Village.

Faulkner’s Bush:  Charles Faulkner came to NZ in 1855 and settled in Wakefield in the 1870’s.  He built a fine house on this site - the foundations can still be seen near the Scout Den.  The house burnt down in 1893.

Fellbridge Rise:  To honour Dr Pearless whose home, named “Fellbridge,” was built in 1885 in Pitfure Road - where it still stands today.

Fenn Place:  To honour the name of the original European owners of the land.

Foxhill:  Name suggested by an early explorer of the area, Mr Badman, after a small farm near Bristol, England. Other sources suggest after William Fox of the New Zealand Company.

Franklyn Close:  To honour Major William Norris Franklyn who owned land here, “Willowdale,”  in Lower Wakefield near the railway crossing.

Higgins Road:  To honour the Higgins family who arrived in Nelson on the Mary Ann in 1842.  Sydney, the oldest child of Peter and Mary, bought land on what was later called Higgins Road and with his wife, Sarah (nee Sharp) established a local dynasty with eleven children.

Hiwipango:  (correctly Hiwipōnga) or a ridge covered with pōnga trees.

Hoult Valley:  To honour an early settler, Joseph Hoult, who had a large block of land in the area, a sawmill  and a  farm.  Arrived in 1842 on “The Prince of Wales.”

Hunt Terrace:  To honour Thomas Hunt, who, with his brother William arrived in Nelson in 1858.  He eventually bought land in 88 Valley and established a farm, “Highfield” which is still owned by his descendants today, over 150 years later.

Jimmy Lee Bridge:  Over the 88 Valley Stream just south of the Village.  Named after the family of James Lee who built a house just below the site of the old bridge well off the ground because of his fear (well founded) of flooding.

jimmyleecartbridge no date resized

Jimmy Lee Cart Bridge. Waimea South Collection on Tasman Heritage.

Kilkenny Place:  To honour the maternal ancestors of the Martin family who farmed in Wakefield for several generations and ran a butchers shop under the Martin name for almost 100 years.

Lord Auckland Road:  The name of one of the four immigrant ships bringing settlers to Nelson in 1842.

Martin Avenue:  To honour the Martin family.  William (Bill) Martin of Dunedin and his new wife bought a small butcher’s shop from Raymond Hunt in 1909.  They developed a thriving business and a meat delivery service which ranged to Richmond, Eves Valley and all the valleys south of Wakefield. The business stayed in the family for almost 100 years.

Mayer Crescent:  The mother’s name of one of the developers.

Matariki Place:  The Māori name for the Pleiades constellation which lines up at night with this road during June or July.

McCrae Street:   The name of the original farm manager, George McRae, when the land was owned by William England. (Note the change of spelling).  George became a well-known cattle breeder and grew extensive crops, also employing a leather maker.  His bullock cart was used to transport the framing of St John’s church from Edward Baigent’s property to the hill site.  He died accidentally while boiling up a sheep-dip.

O’Shea Place:  Thomas O’Shea settled on this land in 1861.  He was the first chairman of St Joseph’s Catholic Church and oversaw the building of the first church in 1869.

Pitfure Road: Named after the farm owned by retired Capt. Richard England, who was killed at the Wairau Incident when settlers clashed with Ngāti Toa in 1843.

Pretty Bridge Valley:  Named after the log bridge hastily thrown across a stream and covered with ferns for a visiting dignitary.  A lady in the party remarked, “What a pretty bridge!”

Ryeland Avenue:  Named after the breed of sheep run on the Close farm at Pitfure Road.  These were some of the last in the district to be farmed here.

Spooner’s Range:  John Swinton Spooner was an early explorer in the area with Charles Heaphy . He was a cabin passenger on The Indus, arriving on October 1 1842.  He formed a dray road to Tophouse and surveyed the first road over the range which now bears his name.

Telenius Road:  Carl Telenius from Finland built a large two-storied house at Spring Grove on the corner with Higgins Road in 1884 and set up shop as a draper and importer.  While his wife managed the store, he travelled the district selling his wares.  The house is still in use today.

Trass Valley:  To honour the memory of an early settler.

Treeton Place:  The property known as Treeton, later called Treeton Park was possibly named by the first owner of the land, John Parkin Taylor, who was born in Treeton, England.  Subsequent owners followed including Thomas Price. Charles Faulkner bought the property in 1877 and built a fine house near the stand of native bush which bears his name.

Wakefield:  Earlier names were “Pitfure,” after the largest farm in the area, and ‘The Township of Arthur.”  William Hough is also given credit with naming it after his own place of birth in Yorkshire.  After Capt. Arthur Wakefield was killed in the Wairau Incident in 1843, it was also accepted to be in honour of him.

Wai-iti  or “little water”.  Originally called “Upper Wakefield,”  the area was centred around Day’s Lane where John Hodgson opened his boot and shoe shop, later selling groceries. The area extends to the Wai-iti River bridge including a side road to the old Wai-iti railway station.

Whitby Road:  Named after one of the three ships commanded by Capt. Arthur Wakefield when he explored Tasman Bay / Te Tai-o-Aorere in 1841.

Whiting Drive:  To honour the memory of the late Andy Whiting, a notable local contractor.

Will Watch Lane:  One of the three ships commanded by Capt. Arthur Wakefield which sailed to Nelson to look for suitable land for settlement , arriving on 2 May 1841.

Windlesham Place:  Named after Edward Baigent’s home village in Surrey.

This story was first published in "Windows on Wakefield" a community newsletter for the town of Wakefield, Nelson. Also published in the Waimea South Historical society book "The way we were".

Updated, August 16, 2022.

Sources used in this story

  1. From River to Range. (1992). [Wakefield, N.Z.]: Waimea South Historical Society.

  2. Stringer, Marion J. (1999). Just another row of spuds: a pioneer history of Waimea South. [Wakefield, N.Z.] : M.J. Stringer.
  3. Stringer, Marion J. (2006) More Wakefield spuds: more Waimea South history. [Nelson, N.Z.]: M.J. Stringer.


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  • Does anyone know after whom Harcourt Place in Wakefield was named?

    Posted by Donald Lamont, 20/02/2023 10:12pm (1 year ago)

  • As a recent arrival in the Tasman area, I have been putting together a list of street names and where their names originated for the Nelson, Stoke, Richmond, Appleby, Hope, Spring Grove and Wakefield areas. The entry I have for Anslow Place in Wakefield read as follows:
    Anslow Place (W)
    "Anslow Place is a short residential cul-de-sac which runs virtually north off Harcourt Place in Wakefield. It is named after the village of Anslow in Staffordshire, England." My online reference was "Tasman District Road Names Updated April 2021". put together by Tasman District Council.

    Posted by Donald Lamont, 02/11/2022 5:43pm (2 years ago)

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