Friday, 07 August 2020


Broader consultation to take place before naming of new Cooks Beach streets

A decision on new street names in the Longreach Estate subdivision in Cooks Beach has been delayed to allow further consultation with Ngati Hei and other stakeholders, including members of the Harsant family.

The developers of the subdivision had submitted a list of proposed names for two streets and three accessways in stages 2b, 4 and 5 of the housing development, which currently consists of around 150 residential lots. The names were inspired by HMB Endeavour and the ship’s crew, who visited Cooks Beach in in 1769. The street names which council staff recommended the Mercury Bay Community Board approve were Elizabeth Cook Drive, after Captain James Cook’s wife, and Solander Place in honour of Daniel Solander, one of the botanists on board the Endeavour.

However, when the proposal came before last Wednesday’s Community Board meeting, the board members were addressed by brothers, Sam and Colin Harsant, who asked that the suggested names be replaced with the names of their parents, Fred and Joyce, who had been part of the initial development of Cooks Beach in the 1940s.

Sam Harsant described how his grandmother purchased 50 acres of what was then just rushes and ferns back in 1929. However, after her death, it was his parents who eventually decided to build their lives in Cooks Beach, clearing the land and instigating the draining of the swamp which now forms the lake area within the village. Colin Harsant said the family believe Fred was the only person from Ferry Landing/Cooks Beach ever elected to what was then the Coromandel County Council, of which he was deputy chair. Colin also pointed out that there were already six road names relating to Cook’s visit in Cooks Beach and several other well-known families were also recognised, while the family with the longest physical connection to the area was not.

Upon some discussion, it was agreed that the Community Board would return to the matter after Ngati Hei and other stakeholders have been consulted.


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The Mercury Bay Informer is a highly popular community newspaper, based in Whitianga. The paper is distributed throughout the Coromandel Peninsula, coast to coast from Thames to north of Colville.