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Samuel Parnell Road

This is an article by Will Chapman from The Stockade, Volume 32, 1999, p27-28.

A brilliantly fine summer's day was the backdrop to the official opening of Karori's newest street, Samuel Parnell Road. Just after 11 am on Saturday, 21 February 1999, Wellington's Mayor, Mark Blumsky, joined by Western Ward Councillor and Karori resident Andy Foster and the Society's representative Will Chapman cut the ribbon in front of 30-40 people made up of City Council officials, local residents and interested onlookers.

Connecting Parkvale and Chamberlain Roads has been in prospect for many years. More recent impetus to the idea however gathered with the ever increasing traffic flow along Karori Road and the need in times of emergency to be able to bypass the main road, effectively from Homewood Avenue down as far as Tringham Street.

The Society was delighted to be involved. Our interest goes back to at least 1984 when we submitted a list to the City Council for its consideration, of around a dozen or so Karori names of historical significance to be used in the naming of new Karori streets. At that time the new subdivisions at the top end of Montgomery and Woodhouse Avenues were underway. Many were accepted including Whitehead, Caldwell, England, Penlington and Cathie. However, not all were considered suitable, including Parnell. The reason was the existence of Parnell Street in Fairfield, Lower Hutt. Acceptance and use of this name in Karori would go against a long standing City Council policy of no street name duplication thus avoiding possible confusion to emergency services in the region.

This is where matters rested until recently when, with the new street between Parkvale and Chamberlain Roads in prospect and the fact that all our earlier accepted names had been used, the bright idea of using Parnell's forename as a means of avoiding confusion from duplication came up. Thus Karori now is able permanently to commemorate one of its well-known sons.

Parnell's contribution to the eight hour working day is well known. His 30 years in Karori (1843-1873) however were centred around his life as a farmer and horticulturalist working in 35 acres of land towards the top end of Donald Street. Contemporary references also point to his continuing involvement in carpentry (for Judge Chapman at Homewood for example) and on at least one occasion to his talents as an artist. It is thought that he built and certainly lived in what is now 69 Donald Street from the late 1850s until 1873. More details on Parnell's Karori years and 69 Donald Street can be found in 'The Stockade' No. 17 ('Samuel Duncan Parnell in Karori' by Kitty Wood, and 'No. 69 Donald Street, Karori' by Paul and Barbara Lenihan).

An interesting footnote is that no one actually lives in the street. The bounding properties all have existing Chamberlain or Parkvale Road addresses so the new street does not add to the postie's round.