Welcome to what's probably the World's one and only "Plimmerton", nestled on and above the northern shore of the Porirua Harbour.
Where's that? Porirua City (of about 50,000 people) sits just north of Wellington, the Capital of New Zealand, which is largely on a peninsula at the south-west tip of the North Island (the smaller of the country's two major islands, but warmer and less mountainous and with about 3 million of NZ's 4 million people). Lower Hutt is just across Belmont Regional Park to the south-east, and landlocked Upper Hutt is over some hills to the east.
North of Plimmerton is Porirua City's northernmost suburb, Pukerua Bay, where Peter Jackson grew up and made his first movies. East of Plimmerton (sometimes considered part of it) is Camborne, on a prominent hill. South along the beach or the railway line or the State Highway is Mana, part of the larger locality of Paremata; for any big shops or most specialist non-food businesses, go there (either north or south end of Mana Esplanade) or to the light industrial/commercial area to the north (with access through the railway subway or from the northern roundabout on the state highway).
Central Plimmerton (on or near Steyne Avenue) has a mini market, three takeaways (two of them having seating for patrons), three restaurants, a florist, an art gallery, a delicatessen, a real estate agency, a preloved-clothing (etc) store, a Medical Centre, a beauty salon, Plunket rooms, a public full primary school, a Kindergarten, a Fire Station, a many-roomed public hall with adjoining playground, public and private tennis courts, a New Zealand Post mailbox, a B&B, a rail enthusiast and computer repair and cycle-hire business (at the refurbished railway station) and churches (one of which sells pre-ordered meals).
See also History.
Settlement by indigenous Māori people took place long before Europeans saw the place. It was known as Tāupo, the home of a great Chief named Te Rauparaha, who was captured by the British in 1846. You can read about that in many other places and you can see a related plaque in Motuhara Road.
In 1879, the building of a railway began, out from Wellington, towards the rest of the North Island along the west coast. Railway company directors bought strategic blocks of land for building villages that would help the line's economics. By 1885, the neck of the eastern arm of the Porirua Harbour had been bridged. One delightful sheltered sandy beach 2 km to the north, west-facing, with a view of the harbour entrance and Mana Island, became the focus of a village named after director John Plimmer (whose family has been prominent in business and political circles in Wellington over two centuries). In 1894 the family built the 32-room Plimmerton House, an accommodation and refreshment stop right beside the railway station platform with the beach a stone's throw beyond.
By 1900 about 30 holiday cottages and a general store and two private hotels were established. Plimmerton was on the move. Residents of Wellington City had day trips to Plimmerton because it had (and still has) one of the best beaches in the region, especially when the wind is from the south.
In 2016, a Heritage Trail of 35 sites was completed. See map at http://www.plimmerton.nz/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Plimmerton-Heritage-Trail-Map-web-pdf.pdf. Most of the work was done by Deirdre Dale, Andrew Deller, and Mary Beckett, who were smilingly depicted on page 4 of the Kapi-Mana News for sep 27, 2016.
Twentieth-century Plimmerton Edit
Roads and housesEdit
As with most villages near New Zealand's main centres, gradually roads were built (north-west to and beyond Karehana Bay and a little to the east) and the farms were subdivided for housing, though much of the pre-existing native "bush" - trees, climbers, and ferns - was retained. Even the remaining unsold Maori land at Hongoeka Bay further north-west saw some roading and subdivision, with only a tiny gap now between it and the coastal ribbon of European-developed housing.
Camborne and Paremata nearbyEdit
From about 1970 a substantial planned development to the east, overlooking the eastern arm of the harbour, spread over much of the remaining farmland. That area became known as "Camborne", and most of its streets have Cornish names, a tradition begun by the original developer Arthur Cornish. For most practical non-residential purposes, because it has no shop or education facilities or community halls of its own, Camborne is part of Plimmerton. However, the locality divisions are indistinct between Camborne and Plimmerton and between it and the suburb to the south (named "Paremata" after the Parramatta Barracks), which contained the nearest supermarket and postshop and tavern and podiatrist and dental surgery and squash club and Marina and playcentre and petrol stations and money machines and international hamburger bar (with the golden arches a few minutes' walk from the south part of Plimmerton Beach). In the 21st century even more businesses opened in Paremata.
Merger with Porirua CityEdit
On 1 April 1973 Plimmerton was among the communities that left the largely rural Hutt County and amalgamated with fast-growing Porirua City, which has its business centre at the south-west tip of the southern arm of the harbour, visible from much of Camborne. At the 1976 census, Plimmerton, because so many of its houses were decades old and it was so pleasant as to be not the sort of place any resident was keen to leave, had the most balanced distribution of age-groups anywhere in the city.
World literary fame Edit
A poem by a New Zealander, the late Denis Glover, which appears on the Internet in a website devoted to international writing for children, dwells on the area, including the following lines:
- In Plimmerton, in Plimmerton,
- the little penguins play,
- And I have seen an albatross
- at Karehana Bay.
Wellingtonians have been flocking to Plimmerton Beach since the railway line opened.
Fairly safe, gently sloping, somewhat sheltered from all winds except north-westerly, a bit stony in places, attractive enough to have 600 people on it at once.
South of Taupo Stream is an area of water open to board sailors and similar wind-assisted sportspersons, which is thought to have been used by at least one later Olympic champion.
State highway "upgrade"Edit
With State Highway No 1 getting busier every year, the State roading authority finally persuaded the people of Plimmerton and Paremata that a limited "four-laning" was necessary in the decade or two expected to elapse before a new highway much further east ("Transmission Gully") can be built. So Plimmerton got a new longer pedestrian overbridge, lost the front gardens of a few houses, and saw its first sets of traffic lights in November 2005 at the Grays Road and Steyne Avenue junctions with the main drag.
An active Residents Association is trying to improve the village and keep an eye on the roading authorities. Its committee meetings, in the Plimmerton Pavilion (near the Fire Station), are open to the public. Some of the committee's members expressed pleasure at seeing Plimmerton on its own web page but have not provided the offered reports of committee meetings. There is still time. See link in heading.
Plimmerton Volunteer Fire Brigade Edit
PVFB is one of the longest standing Volunteer brigades on the North Wellington coast, first established in 1934.
- Cheap personal service (from 10c) between 9.30 and 11.30 am on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at the church office opposite the main shops
- Twice the price but with much longer opening hours at the pharmacy near the north end of Mana Esplanade south of Goat Point.
- Hairdressing and beauty
- "Colours" at 44 Steyne Avenue
- Cheaper haircuts in Porirua City Centre, in or just east of the North City Mall
- Vehicle servicing and WOF
- Plimmerton Motors, just north of the traffic lights across the State Highway
- Hothouse Flowers Ltd, Camborne
- Peter Clarence
- Leon Smith