Learning & Research - Akoranga me Rangahau
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Taranaki Stories

These stories capture the very essence of Taranaki – the people and the landscape.
They record the achievements of those who live here, the struggles of the first settlers, the determination to overcome challenges, those who have made their mark on not only their own, but also future generations.
But the stories are not just about hardship – they are also inspiring, thrilling, mystifying, enlightening and entertaining.


Taranaki Stories

Showing stories tagged as New Plymouth.

New Plymouth Trams 1916 - 1954

by Kathy Heazlewood on 17 December 2009

On 10 March 1916, New Plymouth could boast to be the smallest municipality in the world to run a tramway system. New Plymouth was also the last city to install an electric tram system.    Six trams made by Boon and Co of Christchurch started the service between Fitzroy and the Terminus Hotel (now know as the Tasman Towers).  Full service to the Port was to come also, but was initially delayed...

Ngāmotu – more than just a beach

by Sorrel Hoskin on 14 December 2009

If the black grains of sand on New Plymouth's Ngāmotu Beach could talk they would tell tales of tragedy and triumph, of pounding warriors' feet, the crack of cannon fire, the creaking of oars from boats and the steady development of a village turned town, turned city. Once a large sprawling beach, Ngāmotu has played an important part in both Māori and European history.   Close your eyes and...

You Only Live Once – Keith Adams

by Rhonda Bartle on 14 December 2009

If Keith Adam's life was a slogan, ‘Just do it’ would pretty much sum him up. "You only live once - you're a long time dead - so you may as well have fun while you're alive!" the octogenarian laughs.  The New Plymouth man has white-hair, sun drenched skin, and limbs as slender and sinewy as jungle creepers. And a ready grin.   He's got three life memberships and a Queen's Service Medal under...

A Highwayman Came Riding – children’s version

by Virginia Winder on 14 December 2009

A masked man hides behind bushes. He is waiting and watching as a man on a horse trots towards him along Mangorei Road. The sound of clopping gets closer. Dust sprouts from the horse's hooves. When the rider nears the bush, the masked man leaps out waving a gun and yells: "Halt! I demand your money, or I will put a bullet through your brains!" The terrified horseman hands over a few...

The Time Traveller’s Guide to the 1880s

by Rhonda Bartle on 14 December 2009

When the Lonely Planet Travel Guide to New Zealand took an interest in Taranaki and turned the spotlight on Whangamomona, it undoubtedly brought a new wave of visitors into the district.   But have you ever wondered what a local travel book dated 1885 might have offered to the traveller by way of sightseeing tips?   The Illustrated Guide to the West Coast of the North Island, New Zealand...

A Movie of Our Own

by Rhonda Bartle on 09 December 2009

Forget the Last Samurai - Taranaki's first real ‘on location’ movie was filmed more than 70 years before.   It was a typical 1920s storyline - an innocent school teacher is kidnapped by a dastardly journalist, a cowboy chase ensues, before the hero saves the day.    But this wasn't some flick straight from the sets of Hollywood. This was New Plymouth's first ever movie, using local scenes and...

An Interview with Alaric Wilson

by Rhonda Bartle on 07 December 2009

Alaric Wilson was born in New Plymouth and has lived in three different houses on Frank Wilson Terrace, which was named after his father when family land was subdivided.   His current house is just eight years old, with a wide wooden deck built out into lush mature bush. It's hard to imagine he lives in the city, with rimu and puriri trees growing so close to the balustrades.   Yet,...

A Place To Be Proud Of

by Rhonda Bartle on 07 December 2009

In July 2006, the New Plymouth Technical School building turned 100 years old. The forerunner to the Taranaki Polytechnic, now Western Institute of Technology in Taranaki (WITT), it was set up by men of foresight and was once a place to be particularly proud of.   When the Polytechnic opened in 1972, it was built on the sturdy foundations of New Plymouth's Technical School.   The word...

Ships of Wood and Men of Steel: How ‘Biggles’ put the Port on CD

by Rhonda Bartle on 07 December 2009

You'd think a bloke called ‘Biggles’ would be interested in planes not ships, but Robin Maindonald of Westgate knows enough about Port Taranaki to put its entire history on CD. The story of Port Taranaki is the story of people and the sea.  Maindonald, Communication and Security Officer at Westgate, is pretty keen on both.    A popular Westgate employee, he's a gun at multi-tasking. A visitor...

Levi Sarten and the Hole in the Wall

by Rhonda Bartle on 07 December 2009

Levi Sarten had a love of the sea, perhaps sparked by a long ocean voyage when he was just an infant.    At the age of nine months, he travelled with his parents from Corscombe, England, to land on New Plymouth shores. A child of Lucy and Edmund Sarten, Levi arrived on the first settler ship William Bryan.   He was the first settler child to land on the beach, and his mother, the first...

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