Home' The Wellingtonian : December 6th 2012 Contents 5
THE WELLINGTONIAN, DECEMBER 6, 2012
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Ups and downs long debated
Then: Eddie Johns with the horse
and cart, at the corner of Aro St
and Devon St in 1908.
Photo: ALEXANDER TURNBULL
Now: Devon St, 2012, as it winds
its way from Aro St towards
Photo: MARY BAINES
By LAURA MACDONALD
Devon St, which links Victoria University
to Aro St, has barely changed since it was
named by one of New Zealand's early sett-
lers in the late 19th century.
William Adams, a land speculator,
named the street after his home county of
Devon, in the south-west of England.
The notoriously narrow, twisting and
steep Devon St has been a source of debate
between Wellingtonians and the city coun-
cil practically ever since.
For example, three letters to the editor of
The Evening Post between 1928 and 1930
made the same sort of points about the
street that people are still making today:
it's steep, too narrow and dangerous.
Two of the letter-writers questioned the
council's attitude to the street, which they
said was a main thoroughfare from the
south end of the city to Kelburn''.
The neglect of Devon Street, one of the
most picturesque thoroughfares of Welling-
ton city, is a serious matter,'' wrote Cow-
Eighty years later, Wellington City Coun-
cil is repaving the footpath along Devon St,
making the road even narrower and anger-
ing residents who have virtually no room to
Devon St is still a main thoroughfare,
especially handy for university students
getting to their Aro Valley flats.
The street now bears the familiar signs of
student living: a couch sitting on the foot-
path, bottle bins brimming with beer
stubbies, and Victorian and Edwardian
houses in need of a good paint.
An ongoing debate is whether it should
become one-way. If so, which way?
Jen O'Connell, who has lived there for 14
years, said it was an interesting place to
live, and thought it was manageable as a
I would hate them to make it one-way.''
She said it emptied out at this time of
year when students went home.
Come January, she watches as her new
neighbours try to navigate the steep street,
thinking it's one-way.
There are a lot of near crashes.''
Another 1920s letter to The Evening Post
drew attention to the dangerous hairpin
corner that a large motor-car or lorry can-
not get around'' without driving on to the
The more things change, the more they
stay the same.
An eight-wheeled truck got stuck on the
same U-bend a couple of months ago after
the driver followed his GPS too religiously.
A crane was eventually called in to
Charles Mabbett, who has lived in the
street for nine years, said residents always
knew when something had happened
because the street was blocked off by police
cars and nothing can move''.
Earlier this year a man was killed when
his digger rolled on the steep street.
Ms O'Connell said fire engines used to be
sent to Devon St for practice, to see if the
drivers could get them around the notorious
Devon St is one of many sections of the
Aro Valley that has gained a reputation for
political radicalism and shady dealings.
They say that about Aro Valley -- that it
was quite a lefty area,'' said Mr Mabbett,
who was inclined to agree.
Wellington's waterfront will be lit up by a
26-metre high Christmas tree on Friday evening
at Waitangi Park.
The evening's entertainment will begin at 7pm.
New Zealand singer-song writers Lisa Crawley
and Massad will treat the crowd to some
homegrown music from about 8.15pm, and the
lighting of the tree will take place about 9pm.
The huge Telecom Tree has become an annual
Christmas attraction on the waterfront.
A light show will run on the tree every night
until Boxing Day, and Wellingtonians will get the
opportunity to design their own lighting display
via the website at telecomtree.co.nz/.
To help share the spirit of Christmas, visitors to
the tree are encouraged to bring Christmas pres-
ents for children in need, and place them in
specially marked areas by the tree.
The gifts will be distributed to Wellington City
Mission and Just for Kids at the Wellington Chil-
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