New bilingual signs in a park bearing a name provided by mana whenua are just one of the ways Manurewa Local Board is showing pride in the area’s strong Māori identity and championing te reo Māori.
Earlier this year, the local board adopted names and narratives provided by mana whenua for 57 local parks in its area as part of the council’s cultural identity programme, Te Kete Rukuruku.
Now Te Ākitai Waiohua and the board have marked the installation at what will now be known as Te Pua / Keith Park in Weymouth, of a new entrance sign and an interpretative sign that tells the story in English and te reo Māori of the name provided by the iwi for the park.
The board selected the park to feature a full suite of bilingual signs.
The park also has new entrance signs bearing its dual name and an interpretative sign that tells the story in both te reo Māori and English of the name, Te Pua, provided by Te Ākitai Waiohua.
Chair Joseph Allan says the board is honoured to be a part of returning Te Pua to Waimāhia.
“Manurewa people are proud of the area’s Māori identity, so to be a part of a project that showcases stories and names provided by mana whenua is exciting.
“So much has been taken and lost from this place, so it’s wonderful to see some of those things being returned.
"Our councillors are here to witness it, and we particularly acknowledge Angela Dalton as a former board chair for her role in developing key relationships when this process started.”
Mr Allan says the project is about more than just signs.
“It’s a way we can start to build a community, where Māori heritage and storytelling are woven through local life and where te reo is seen, spoken and heard.”
The suite of bilingual signs includes:
- entrance sign featuring the dual name Te Pua / Keith Park
- interpretive sign featuring the name and narrative in te reo Māori and English, and QR code to scan for the correct pronunciation
- wayfinding information in English and Māori on the park’s facilities
- regulatory signs such as bylaws or alcohol bans in English and te reo.
Te Pua / Keith Park is the only one in the area to have a full suite of signs. Other sites to be dual named will be updated as signs are scheduled for replacement.
Name feels like welcoming whānau home
At this week’s unveiling of the sign, Te Ākitai Waiohua’s David-Wilson said seeing a name that celebrates a famous ancestor returned to the area was like welcoming whānau home.
Te Pua means the blossom or to bloom and comes from the original name of the southern point of Waimāhia, Te Rangi-o-te-pua-karaka - the day of the karaka blossom.
The story comes from Te Waiohua chieftainess Te Pua o te karaka, who was born under a karaka tree after her mother, who was collecting seafood in the area, rested under the tree when she felt childbirth coming on. Soon enough her daughter was born under that tree, forever linking her to that whenua.
Walking the talk
Manurewa Local Board has led the way in showcasing Māori identity, becoming the first local board to change its office signage to be in te reo Māori, supporting community-led events such as the area’s annual bilingual hikoi and Matariki, and adopting outcomes in its local board plan specific to Māori cultural identity, heritage, prosperity and partnership with mana whenua and mataawaka.
Te reo is seen, heard, learnt, and spoken
Te Kete Rukuruku programme manager Anahera Higgins says putting te reo at the heart of the programme means Māori is seen, heard, learnt, and spoken as part of everyday life.
“Bilingual signs are a visible example, but the programme is more than that. It’s about preserving iwi narratives, developing our unique Māori identity and safeguarding our treasured heritage.
“It’s been a massive task for mana whenua, and their guidance has been critical. It’s also exciting to see Manurewa become the fourth board to adopt names.”
The number of Māori or bilingual signs in parks, facilities and local board offices is just one of the measures outlined in Kia Ora Tāmaki Makaurau – the council group’s Māori Outcomes framework approved in 2020.
It brings together Māori aspirations, the council group’s contribution towards achieving those aspirations, and performance measurement of the council’s mahi.
About Te Kete Rukuruku
Iwi-led, council and its boards launched the project in 2017 to collect and share stories unique to Māori in Tāmaki Makaurau.
The naming part of the project returns te reo Māori to the whenua (land), in some cases through the restoration of iwi and hapū names that may predate European settlement.
In other cases by the adoption of contemporary Māori names that may connect to a story, or activity that historically took place in that area.”
Short mana whenua narratives explaining the names provide meaning and connection to the place.
In December 2020 Whau Local Board unveiled bilingual signs in Tahurangi /Crum Park, and in May, Ōtāra-Papatoetoe installed bilingual signs in Waenganui / Allenby Park, and now Māngere-Ōtāhuhu and Manurewa have adopted their first names.
Other boards in the project:
- Hibiscus and Bays
- Waitākere Ranges