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Street names help keep heritage alive

Published: 10 June 2021

What’s in a name?

Quite a lot when you must approve new ones every month.

Auckland’s 21 local boards are charged with adopting new road names, usually only needed when urban development creates roads, or accessways are extended off existing ones.

Most often, names put forward by developers go to boards for approval provided they meet council guidelines, which prevent inappropriate or offensive terms, or duplicate names that might cause confusion for emergency services.

Mana whenua groups are also invited to have input, often suggesting historic or culturally significant names.

Papakura Local Board chair Brent Catchpole believes it’s important to use names that tie to the area.

“Names we’ve accepted around the former army land tend to reflect the history of the area and its military past.

“We’ve approved Combat and Corporal streets but also Taiaha, Kaha and Kairākau streets, reflecting a weapon, courage and experienced warriors, names that also honour strong Māori ties to our defence forces."

In Manurewa, board chair Joseph Allan says it's rare to see official’s advice overlooked, but it does happen.

“As long as a name meets the guidelines, the advice will be to accept it, but we can choose something else, usually another preference from the developer.

“Recently we went past Basalt Rock Way, which doubtless met guidelines, but doesn’t celebrate the significance of the area to Ngāti Te Ata and Te Ākitai Waiohua in a way Matukutūruru does, referencing Wiri Mountain.

“Our preference is using names that celebrate our Māori history and identity because our Local Board Plan talks about being proud of those things.”

Further south in Franklin, growth is so fast the local board is approving new road names on an almost monthly basis.

Board chair Andy Baker says the board takes a balanced approach, looking for recognition of things important to all aspects of history, both Māori or of some significance to the landowner or developer, or that reflect previous land use.

In Paerata Rise, 10 recently adopted Māori names connecting to the area’s Methodist Church and Bible ties were suggested by Te Taha Māori - the Māori side of the Methodist Church, with local iwi also consulted.

“The streets carry te reo names that mean things important to the church, such as Metorita for Methodist, Arohaina for compassion, Manatika for justice and Kenehi for Genesis, the first book of the Bible,” Baker says.

“Then we have names that fit the history of Wesley College, right down to Jonah Lomu Drive, named after our much-loved rugby star.”

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