News | 13 September 2019
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New te reo name gifted for Wellington Botanic Garden precinct

A te reo name has been gifted for use in the precinct which includes Wellington Botanic Garden.

Image of sign for Botanic Garden

The name Paekākā, meaning “realm or perch of the kākā”, was revealed today as part of Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. 

The name, gifted by mana whenua, would apply to the area from the top of the Cable Car around the Pukehinau area, down to the Waipaekākā (stream) and Pakuao Kāinga in Thorndon (located above the end of Tinakori Road) – and take in all Council spaces and places.

“In the past, this area has long been associated with the trapping and snaring of kākā,” says iwi representative Honiana Love.

“Hīnau trees were abundant in the area which attracted the kākā then, and the birds are still drawn here.”

As a result of the name gifting, once it has been through the formal Council processes to adopt the name, it is envisaged Council-run facilities in the Botanic Garden precinct, including the top of the Cable Car and Space Place, would incorporate “ki Paekākā”, which means “at Paekākā” into their branding and signage.

Deputy Mayor Jill Day says ki Paekākā fits well with the Council’s Naming Policy and Te Tauihu te reo Māori language policy.

“This is a name for the precinct which reflects its heritage and which Council can recognise. 

“The area is obviously well known for its European history, but Paekākā reflects what happened before that and this is how Wellington can even further acknowledge its rich past.”

Government weather forecasting agency MetService, which has offices above the Garden, also supports use of the new name.

Paekākā has been gifted as Wellington Botanic Garden celebrates its 150th year.

Gardens Manager David Sole says the name now helps acknowledge the area was once an essential food basket for Māori.

“This area has always been special for Wellingtonians and it will be great to mark what was here in the past and make it part of our future.”

While the name has been offered as a gift by mana whenua, the formal processes to agree the name still have to be undertaken. There will be opportunity for community engagement during that process.


Q. Is the Botanic Garden being renamed?
A. No, the Council still needs to formally consider this. It would be  an additional name for the precinct around the Botanic Garden. 

Q. Why is this needed? 
A. The Council has adopted Te Tauihu – te reo Māori Policy.  In it we agreed to consider Te Reo names for key sites around the city, including the Wellington Botanic Gardens, Town Belt and Outer Green Belt. 

We want Wellington, the capital city to be a te reo Māori city – and people will know this because te reo will be visible in our city landscape and places we meet.

This name recognises the relationship of the early Māori settlements with this area., The Council gratefully acknowledges the offer of the name for this area as it recognises the early history of our city. 

It’s also important that we recognise this manu (Kākā) and the significant role it has played in our city history.  Kākā numbers are increasing, still the future of the Kākā needs to be protected – the naming of Paekākā will remind us that they have a special place here in Pōneke.  Iwi mana whenua in their kaitiaki role have gifted the name in recognition.

Q. Where would this apply to?
A. Paekākā would run from the top of the hill, around the Pukehinau area and top of the Cable Car, down to the Waipaekākā (stream) and Pakuao Kāinga in Thorndon (located above the end of Tinakori Road) – and takes in all Council spaces and places.

Q. How will it work?
A. Council CCO signage would in future incorporate the name. For example “Botanic Garden ki Paekākā” or “Space Place ki Paekākā”. 

Q. What will it cost?
A. There is no significant additional cost. Signage and branding will be replaced as part of BAU.

Q. What is the process from here for the name to be adopted?
A. We recognise that the area is important for Wellington and need to engage with the community to allow residents to have a say on this proposal to incorporate the name in this area. The Council would then consider this feedback before making a final decision on this.