Wellington eyes flock of te reo reserve names during Te Wiki o te reo Māori

13 September 2018

Wellington City Council is embracing Te Wiki o te reo Māori by proposing to name several new reserves after native birds.

From left: Tiana Edmonds, Leighsah Rawiri, Mayor Justin Lester, Councillors Peter Gilberd, Jill Day, Malcolm Sparrow in Woodridge.

From left: Tiana Edmonds, Leighsah Rawiri, Mayor Justin Lester, Councillors Peter Gilberd, Jill Day, and Malcolm Sparrow in Woodridge.

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The City Strategy Committee will be asked to approve the names of 17 reserves in Churton Park, Newlands, Tawa and Aro Valley when it next meets on September 20.

Four of the names are of European origin, recognising local identities, and the remaining 13 are Māori.

“The communities involved have embraced te reo Māori for their reserves,” says Wellington Mayor Justin Lester. “Where there are areas of significance to iwi we have adopted the suggested name, and for most of the names in Stebbings Valley native birds have shone through.

“We want Wellington to be a bilingual capital, and recognising the history of a place or the local flora or fauna will help achieve that goal.

“The consultation process has shown there is considerable backing for te reo Māori names. We also believe there is wide public support for dual names for more high-profile features.”

Last year, Council bought a 32-hectare block of bush near Tawa known as the Forest of Tane. It is proposed that will be renamed Te Ngahere-o-Tawa, or “Forest of Tawa”, as suggested by the community.

Iwi suggested the Dommett Street reserve in Newlands be named Te Pari Kārangaranga, or “Echoing cliffs”, which relates to a site of significance.

In the central city, Ngā Kumikumi has been suggested as the name for a new reserve between Te Aro School and lower Devon Street. It was the name of an old cultivation area in nearby lower Nairn Street.

It is proposed Wellington’s famous wind be recognised in one of four reserves in Woodridge with the name Hauora, meaning healthy wind. Other reserves will be named after native birds.

Deputy Mayor Jill Day, Takapū - Northern Ward Councillor and leader of the Māori Partnerships portfolio, says recognising the natural environment was important in Pākehā and Māori cultures.

“Council wanted to capture the idea that being out in the natural environment – even a really windy one – and enjoyment of reserves had benefits to the health and wellbeing of people,” she says. “Te reo Māori often gives us beautiful ways of expressing these thoughts and Hauora is a lovely name.”

The suggested Tawhai Raunui Reserve is the Māori name for the nearby Red Beech Avenue. Additionally, the Regulatory Processes Committee has approved four te reo Māori names for new roads and right-of-ways in Crofton Downs.

Porokaiwhiri Street will be named after the small tree, Riroriro Close after the grey warbler, Ramarama Lane after the shrub and Kareao Way after the woody vine.