The first of 32 Papakura parks to have on site signage with dual Māori / English names is Otaawhati / Ray Small Park.
Otaawhati - the ebb and flow of water - is a shortened version of Taawhati o Ngaa Tai - the place of the ebbing tide - a reference to the Pahurehure inlet, a culturally significant area to local iwi Ngaati Tamaoho, Te Ākitai Waiohua, Ngaati Te Ata Waiohua and Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki, who suggested the name.
Ray Small was a former Papakura Council engineer, and the board will extend the sign to acknowledge his contribution to the area.
Papakura Local Board chair Brent Catchpole says the board is committed to having te reo seen and heard in public places and adopting dual names will help that to happen.
“Many of the names reflect our area’s cultural history. It’s been a pleasure to learn about mana whenua names and the reasons behind them. I’d encourage everyone to take a look and learn a little bit more about the place we call home.”
Other signage will be changed over time to reflect the new names, but only as it gets old and is due for replacement. Otaawhati / Ray Small Park is the only one in the board area that will receive new signage immediately.
Auckland Council launched Te Kete Rukuruku, five years ago. The programme has seen local boards partner with iwi to share Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland’s unique Māori stories by adding names and the stories behind them to local sites.
“We’ll see some names restored that existed before the current names, and ones that reflect an environmental theme or activity that pre-dates European settlement,” Catchpole says.
“It isn’t about changing a few signs. It’s about preserving these stories for future generations.”
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