Behind every street name is a story, the commemoration of an event or the name of a person who has passed into the halls of history.
In the period following both the First World War & Second World War, New Zealand councils and their residents sought a way in which to remember family, friends and colleagues who had been sent overseas in a military capacity.
In Palmerston North, a large number of streets received this treatment, with the names of both battles and notable individuals commemorated. The process also underscored the patriotic fervor of the First World War period. For example, Frits Street, named after one of Palmerston North’s early mayors of Norwegian origin, was renamed in favour of General Russell, a source of Kiwi pride from the ill-fated Gallipoli campaign. After the Second World War, the Palmerston North City Council sought to recognise Victoria Cross awardees and decorated individuals from the 28th Māori Battalion.
Over time the origins of these names have faded, but a new initiative by the Poppy Places Trust seeks to renew the bonds between our past and the present. As a participant in this initiative the Palmerston North City Council has conducted research into these streets, created articles which will be accessible via Poppy Places, and will erect poppy branded street signs to denote the individual streets.
The New Zealand Poppy Places Trust has been established to develop, promote, and oversee a nation-wide project to commemorate and recognise as part of the heritage of New Zealanders, the participation of New Zealand in military conflicts and military operational services overseas.