Saturday, May 18, 2024

Public places to receive Maori names

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Locations across east Auckland including Murphys Bush are set to receive dual English and Maori or sole Maori names. Times photo Wayne Martin

Nineteen public places in east Auckland will receive Maori names as part of a commitment for te reo to be “seen, heard, spoken, and learnt”.

The Howick Local Board backed a resolution at its most recent business meeting stating it endorses the Auckland Council initiative, named Te Kete Rukuruku.

It supports the visibility of te reo Maori and seeks to capture and tell the unique stories of Howick and Auckland.

The board will invite mana whenua to provide Maori names and narratives for 15 local parks and the four libraries in Botany, Highland Park, Howick, and Pakuranga.

Three reserves are set to have sole Maori names.

Before the board voted on the resolution, member David Collings moved an amendment that was seconded by deputy chairperson Bo Burns.

It asked council officers to publicly notify the board’s intention to adopt sole or dual Maori names, giving the community a chance to provide feedback which would be provided to the board at its next business meeting.

Collings and Burns were the only members to support the amendment and it was lost by two votes to five.

The original resolution was then passed with support from board chairperson Damian Light and members John Spiller, Mike Turinsky, Adele White and Peter Young.

Burns voted against it while Collings abstained.

Light says: “This is a significant step which we’re proud to be taking.

“Te Kete Rukuruku puts into action our Local Board Plan commitment to incorporate Maori culture, language, art and stories into public spaces.

“Dual naming enables a reserve to be enriched with te reo Maori, adding to the existing name, which will remain.

“It’s important to note that nothing is lost and there is much to be gained.

“The locations selected for sole names are reserves that don’t have any established name or are so like others nearby that there’s little distinction.

“Te Kete Rukuruku provides an opportunity to give the whenua (land) the recognition it deserves.”

The next steps will see mana whenua invited to provide Maori names and narratives for the chosen public spaces.

Outcomes of the programme include the restoration of mana and mauri (life force) to the area and the traditional use and importance of the land to mana whenua, Light says.

“Te reo Maori has been recognised as a taonga (treasure) and official language, leading to a revitalisation of its use and understanding.

“Opportunities like this allow local iwi to protect and return local names and history which may have been lost.

“This then enables our communities to learn about local Maori history, language and culture.”

The board is extremely grateful to mana whenua for their involvement in the programme, which has delivered “incredibly meaningful names” in other local board areas across the city, Light says.

“We’re looking forward to seeing the outcome for our rohe (area).

“Having taken this important step, we’re looking forward to working with mana whenua as we embark on this journey together.”

The Maori names will be accepted and adopted once they’ve been received from iwi.

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