Welcome to what's probably the World's one and only "Plimmerton", nestled on and above the northern shore of the Porirua Harbour. Porirua City (of about 50,000 people) sits just north of Wellington, the Capital of New Zealand, which is 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 Upper Hutt is over some hills to the north-east.
See also Pioneers.
Settlement by indigenous Maori people took place long before Europeans saw the place. It was known as Taupo, 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, building a railway was begun 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, 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.
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.
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 much blurred since the filling of the gap between Camborne and the suburb to the south, "Paremata", which contains the nearest supermarket and tavern and medical centre and squash club and playcentre and petrol stations and international hamburger bar (with the golden arches just 2 minutes' walk from the south end of Plimmerton Beach).
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
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 one dead albatross was found
- at Karehana Bay.
Hongoeka Bay writer Patricia Grace had one of her books longlisted for the prestigious Booker Prize in August 2001.
- Plimmerton Medical Centre
- Plimmerton School
- St Theresa's School
State highway "upgrade"
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. Locals have largely lost the use of the St Andrews Road footpath (also SH1) because of the frightening proximity of heavy vehicles travelling at speed less than a metre from their elbows. They have always been very supportive of the alternative SH1 route through Transmission Gully which as early as 1846 and the 1870s was expected to be built. It has been a long wait.
Plimmerton Residents' Association Inc.
- Main article: Porirua:Plimmerton Residents' Association
The Plimmerton Residents' Association works hard on behalf of the community, involving many hours of voluntary work. The PRA committee meetings, held at Plimmerton Pavilion (near the Fire Station), are open to the public, normally on the 4th Monday of each month.