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Bell Block, Taranaki facts for kids

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Bell Block
Country New Zealand
Region Taranaki
District New Plymouth District
 • Total 5,277

Bell Block is a town in Taranaki, New Zealand. State Highway 3 runs through it. It is 6 km north-east of the centre of New Plymouth and 1 km from the outer edge of New Plymouth at Waiwhakaiho. Waitara is about 9 km to the north-east. New Plymouth Airport is located immediately to the north-east of Bell Block.

The population was 5,277 in the 2013 Census, an increase of 1212 from 2006. IIt has 7.1 per cent of the New Plymouth District's population. The median age is 36.8 years, below the median age for the district of 40.6


The land was purchased in November 1848 by Dillon Bell from the Puketapu iwi. The initial purchase was 1,500 acres (610 ha) but more land was added subsequently. Disagreements over the sale of the land contributed to the First Taranaki War.

A stockade was built to protect local settlers in 1860. Some of the earthworks continued until 1972 when a hotel was built on the site.

Much of New Plymouth's heavy and medium industry is situated around Bell Block, which led to heavy traffic congestion. Construction of an arterial bypass of the town commenced in late 2006. A previously unknown Māori site was discovered during site investigations and was excavated by archaeologists prior to construction.

Features and attractions

The Waipu Lagoons are North Taranaki's only wetland area. The lagoons are home to a variety of wildlife, and are an important natural home for the endangered Australasian bittern.

In December 2014 the northern end of New Plymouth's coastal walkway was extended from Hickford Park, Bell Block through to Tirimoana Crescent, making it possible to cycle or walk from Bell Block into central New Plymouth.

The construction of Taranaki's first world-class BMX facility began in Bell Block in July 2015 and is expected to be completed in early 2016.

The BMX track is the latest addition to the Bell Block cycle park, which includes a 1.75 km closed road circuit with two separate 1 km loops and a 333-meter velodrome. The cycle park also has a collection of tracks for children including a miniature town route with traffic lights, a roundabout, railway crossing, disabled car parks, pedestrian crossing and speed bumps, all scaled down to 60 per cent of the original size, to help teach children safety while cycling.

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