Four historic Māori names for parks and reserves have been approved by Waipā’s Service Delivery committee – and more naming decisions await.
Whare marama Reserve in Leamington, Pirongia’s Mātakitaki, Tūrata in Kihikihi and Waipuke, on the edge of the Waikato River at Maungatautari, have all been adopted as part of the first tranche of signage changes by the council.
A second wave of existing parks and reserves in Cambridge are now going through a formal process with Ngā Iwi Tōpu ō Waipā, a collective representing iwi and hapū in the Waipā area, is underway with Ngāti Koroki Kahukura and Ngāti Hauā.
It will include Victoria Square – or the Village Green as Cr Roger Gordon called it at the meeting this week.
“I’m concerned you are going to give one of the parks a Māori name without consultation with the community.”
Gordon’s comments raised the ire of Māori ward councillor Dale-Maree Morgan.
“Anyone would think we are stripping the European names, we are complementing them with the original heritage names before the beautiful European names came in.”
Morgan who has English, Welsh and Scottish heritage, said when English names were adopted for parks and reserves, Māori were probably not consulted.
Waipā was showing great leadership to do this now, she said.
Community Services manager Brad Ward told the committee work began on bilingual signage in 2017. Researchers have engaged with Ngā Iwi Tōpu ō Waipā to undertake the work.
The Māori names identified may be to restore traditional names to the whenua (land), or a contemporary Māori name to reflect the park or reserve activities or history, said Ward.
Where a park or reserve has an existing English name, the Māori name will sit alongside the existing name. If a park or reserve already has a Māori name, no English alternative will be provided.
Two years ago, the council updated its Naming Policy adding in opportunities to promote Te Reo Māori.
“In some cases, it will be restoring traditional names and in others it may be creating contemporary Māori names,” he said.
By the end of the project, all 260 parks and reserves in Waipā will have signage that includes a Māori name.
Deputy mayor Liz Stolwyk said she was looking forward to seeing the dual signage.
“I’m excited about names which reflect all of our history.”
The change to Whare marama in Leamington involves a lower case m for marama while for Mātakitaki, Crown land administered by Waipā, a macron would be added to the first a.
Tūrata and Waipuke are names previously approved by council and staff will now prepare a formal notice for the New Zealand Gazette and install new signage at the reserves.
Tūrata’s heritage stems from Kihikihi’s pre-European and early colonial history.
Kihikihi was the headquarters of Ngāti Maniapoto, with buildings such as the Hui-te-Rangiora built on the southern slopes of the Tūrata’s ridge. Kihikihi was invaded by colonial troops in February 1864.
The old police house, jail and Isabella Temple Cottage were surviving remnants from that era.