Te Koau, called Gough Island by Europeans, was once a shallow island that formed the south side of the Iron Pot close to the entrance of the Ahuriri inner harbour.
Next to Gough Island was a similar island, Te Pakake, called Māori Island by Europeans.
Alfred Domett, who was sent to lay out the town of Napier during 1854, named Gough island after Hugh Gough (1779‒1869), a British Army officer who served in India, to keep the Hawke's Bay nomenclature of naming places after military figures.
Unlike nearby Scinde Island (Mataruahou), which wasn't strictly an island – Gough and Māori islands were surrounded by water, although accessible in shallow water from the Scinde Island side by foot at low tide.
As early as 1857, European settlers began to discuss how they could reclaim land on Gough and Maori islands – in particular how to connect them.
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Breastwork to connect Gough and Māori islands was completed in 1860.
This was 410 feet (125 metres) in length with a backing 12 feet wide (3.6 metres).
The breastwork assisted with reclamation of land between the two islands by catching silt from the Tutaekuri River, which then flowed into the Ahuriri lagoon.
Breastwork was also completed in 1860 on the south side of Gough Island which faced the Iron Pot.
An unseasonable storm in January 1861 washed away most of breastwork between Gough and Māori islands and covered most of Ahuriri in water. And in August that year the 36 feet (11 metres) of breastwork on the south side of Gough Island was also carried away – such was the difficulties in reclaiming the land.
All of the breastwork was rebuilt during 1861/2.
During 1874, soil from Scinde Island was used to reclaim land to form part of Gough Island and Māori Island. This created 12 quarter acre (.1 hectare) sections adjoining a wharf ‒ also built that year. This wharf would become West Quay where the early wool stores were built (and now a major hospitality location in Ahuriri).
Half of the reclaimed land was given to the Napier Borough Council and the other to the Napier Harbour Board.
Bridge St was created in 1874 and name for a bridge that was constructed over the Iron Pot when water flowed into the North Pond.
By 1882 a road was formed from Gough Island to Battery Rd and called Ossian St. This replaced a temporary causeway to Battery Rd, but the new street was realigned to Goldsmith Rd. Ossian St then separated a body of water, which became known as the North and South ponds.
Michael Fowler has two of his books for sale at the Christmas Bazaar at Arts Heretaunga in Heretaunga St – Historic Hawke's Bay ($65) and From Disaster to Recovery: The Hastings CBD 1931-53 ($15)
Michael Fowler (email@example.com) is contract history researcher and writer.