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Berhampore is a small Wellington suburb, tucked away in the southern reaches of the city between the hills of the town belt. Often considered part of its larger neighbour Newtown, or merely the most direct way to get to Island Bay, Berhampore has not loomed large in the consciousness of most Wellingtonians.
Yet, it has a fascinating history replete with many ‘firsts’: it is home to the first multi-unit social housing development in New Zealand, the country’s first public golf course, and school road patrol, while Berhampore School is one of the earliest open plan schools. For over 100 years, one of the country’s premier sports grounds, Athletic Park, loomed large over the suburb and filled it to the brim with sports fans during weekends. Berhampore even had a plague hospital in the early 1900s. It has been a home from home for orphans, refugees and migrants and is today one of the most ethnically diverse parts of Wellington.
Berhampore: Stories of a School and Suburb tells of the area’s development from pre-history to the present, the foundation and growth of Berhampore School, and the suburb’s orphanages and social housing. It visits the shops and industries that have waxed and waned, explores the sports fields and town belt, profiles the creative people who have called Berhampore home, and charts its demographic history. Informative, entertaining and often moving, this book proves that Berhampore has a distinct identity all of its own.