News | 15 September 2021

Council celebrating te reo Māori with latest name proposal

Wellington City Council is proposing to extend the Waimapihi Reserve name to the wider Polhill Reserve area to reflect the historical and cultural significance of the area to mana whenua.

Landscape view of Polhill Reserve showing a gully with housing and hill up behind.

The name Waimapihi comes from the stream that once went past Te Aro Pā and its tributaries originate in the wider Polhill Reserve area.

The name change proposal is in line with Council’s Te Tauihu Te Reo Māori Policy, with a vision for a te reo capital city by 2040. The name would also acknowledge and make this history accessible to all those who visit the reserve.

The stream is now redirected underground through pipes from Aro Valley, but the cultural significance of the area remains.

The proposed name change is part of our Te Reo Māori Policy and perfectly timed as it coincides with Te Wiki o te Reo Māori, says Councillor Jill Day, Chair of Pūroro Rangaranga, the Social, Cultural and Economic Committee.

“The stream was an important mahinga kai site and a source of water for drinking as well as irrigation for kumara and flax. Waimapihi refers to the waters of Mapihi, a rangatira of Ngāi Tara and Ngāti Mamoe, who used to bathe in the waters of the stream.

“The naming of this area is important for raising more awareness of local heritage, culture and customs, and a better understanding of te reo Māori in Pōneke.”

Polhill Reserve is currently named after Baker Polhill, an early settler who lived in Wellington from 1841 to 1849. Polhill harvested timber from the reserve area and set up a wood selling enterprise.

The proposal will go to Council in November for a decision, in the meantime if you have any feedback you can visit wellington.govt.nz/polhill for more information or email communications@wcc.govt.nz. Feedback closes 5pm Friday 8 October.