Council proposes changes to street naming policy
Tauranga City Council's Policy Committee agreed to explore a series of recommended changes to the 2009 Naming of Streets, Reserves and Community Facilities Policy.
Changes to the policy will be presented back to the committee for review prior to community consultation later this year.
A review of the current policy would confirm it applies to all spaces under council's jurisdiction and seeks to better reflect Tauranga’s history, identity, culture, environment and encourage more locally significant Maori names.
While the current policy includes a principle that Council is committed to recognising significance to Maori, a past review noted this does not necessarily result in locally relevant Māori names.
In the example of Kowhai Street – Kowhai can mean yellow or the native tree but this name may still not be significant to a particular place. Instead, a resolution made yesterday demonstrated the committee’s support for Maori names that have significance to Tauranga’s own iwi and hapu.
Policy Committee Chair Steve Morris says committee members felt it was important Tauranga’s Maori history and identity is made more visible.
“When you walk around the older, more established parts of the city there are very few places where you would see te reo used on signage.
“By incorporating place names, perhaps through dual naming, that have significance to mana whenua or local iwi we are honouring and respecting our history, the history of our land as well as the strong affiliation of mana whenua to this place.”
Steve emphasised that if we introduced dual naming it would mean some reserves and streets may have two names. One English name and one Māori name that has local significance.
“I acknowledge that some in our community may feel upset by suggesting a new approach; however, I would encourage them that we have nothing to fear, but much to gain by continuing our journey to becoming a more inclusive community that understands and respects our shared heritage in this land.”
“It’s vitally important that we take our whole community with us on this journey and that while leadership requires courage, we also must ensure that residents don’t feel that any changes are being forced upon them,” says .
The gifting of specially considered Maori names also reflects the Maori Community would like to share their long and rich history of the area.
The following amendments are proposed to the Naming of Streets, Reserves and Community Facilities Policy. The draft policy will be reported back to the Committee for approval to proceed to consultation:
(a) Confirm the scope as including all streets, reserves, public places, council community facilities, and infrastructure.
(b) Add a principle noting the role of the policy in encouraging names that are significant to mana whenua from the Tauranga City Council area.
(c) Prioritise local identity, history of the area and significance to mana whenua from the Tauranga City Council area when deciding new names for streets and reserves.
(d) Add a character limit as a criteria for street names together with existing criteria of “easy to pronounce” and “easy to spell”.
(e) Ensure that new streets and reserves cannot be named after commercial enterprises.
(f) Ensure that the naming criteria applies to active reserves, public places, and council community facilities.
(g) Provide options that allow for the re-naming of reserves and public places.
(h) Not allow private requests to re-name streets.
(i) Allow for the dual naming of new and existing streets, reserves, facilities and public places.
(j) Confirm that decisions on the naming of all reserves, public places, council community facilities and streets be a function of Council.
(k) Confirm that there be no consultation or formal decision-making where a te reo Māori name is gifted to Tauranga by mana whenua.
The practice of dual naming is common in other parts of New Zealand. A copy of the full report can be found on council’s website.
The Policy Committee will be asked to adopt a draft policy for consultation at its July 2019 meeting.
The policy amendments incorporated feedback from the Mana Whenua o Tauranga Moana Partnership Group that would also be invited to comment on the specific policy wording.