Taradale has a rich history stemming from its key role as the original gateway to the inland routes (including Southern Hawke's Bay, Taupo, Auckland and Taihape) and to the farms and settlements of its hinterland, bounded by the Ngaruroro River and the Kawekas.
Before the 1931 Hawke's Bay earthquake, Taradale was separated from distant Napier by a harbour lagoon and tidal mudflats, bridged from 1874 by the corduroy Taradale Road. Other access was by the coastal sandspit road to Awatoto, then to Meeanee village and the Great North Road (Meeanee Road). These barriers forced Taradale's township and pioneer farming settlers to develop staunch independence, setting up their own facilities, businesses and recreational resources. Many of the elements of this historic heritage remain today.
The area south of Puketapu Road and owned by William Colenso was leased to Henry Alley who named it Taradale. He built what was reputed to be the first house, somewhere in the vicinity of Alley Place and Lowther Place. He chose the name Taradale after the hill of Tara, County Meath, Ireland, where he was born. Taradale High School retains a link with the early days of Taradale, its emblem incorporating the Tara Brooch.
Greenmeadows, an area some two kilometres north of the Town Centre, and now an integral part of the Taradale community, was purchased by Henry Tiffen in the late 1850's. Originally the name applied to all land north of Puketapu Road. Today combined Taradale - Greenmeadows has a population of approximately 19,000.
Taradale was administered by a Town Board from 1886-1963, and by a Borough Council from 1963-1968. Amalgamation with Napier had been proposed and disputed for many years, and the merger was passed by referendum in 1968. The final meeting of the Borough Council was held on 26 March 1968 and Taradale became a part of Napier, even though it still retains its strong community spirit and separate idendity as a geographical place.
The second and last Mayor of Taradale was Arthur Miller, a popular and respected member of the community. He is remembered for his public service, especially in his push to establish the Taradale Intermediate, Taradale High, and Arthur Miller Primary Schools.
Present day Taradale continues to expand and develop, with a current growth rate of 6.7%, well above the Hawke's Bay regional growth rate of 3.9% and Napier of 3.2%. As new subdivisions meet the increased demand for middle to high-end residential property, there are several new subdivision developments underway in Mission Heights, Citrus Grove and Kent Terrace with over 1400 residential sections in progress. The imminent upgrading of the Taradale Town Centre will bring it in to the 21st Century. $3.7 million in council funds has been committed to undertake an upgrade in 2010, including streetscape and enhanced pedestrian linkages to slow traffic and improve customer access.
The Taradale Clock Tower (our logo) was built in 1923 as the Taradale and District Soldiers' Memorial Great War 1914-1918. The tower is situated where several roads converge and is a prominent landmark. Designed by John Ellis and built by Mr AB Davis the hexagonal tower stands 15m high. The tower was unveiled in 1923 by Admiral Viscount Jellicoe, Governor General of New Zealand. Following the 1931 earthquake, the tower developed a lean of two feet six inches (0.76m) but was able to be restored by John Ellis. In 1997 murals depicting the three armed services were painted by Brenda Morrell. In 2003 the Clock Tower was floodlit - a combined Taradale Development Association, R.S.A., and Napier City Council project.