Six of Auckland’s regional parks will receive Māori names that showcase and celebrate the stories of the region’s rich Māori history.
Auckland Council is asking mana whenua to provide Māori names and narratives for Ambury, Glenfern, Long Bay, Ōmana, Shakespear and Wenderholm regional parks, after the Parks, Arts, Community and Events Committee agreed for them to be part of the Te Kete Rukuruku programme.
Five parks will have a Māori name added to the existing English name, to create a dual Māori/English name. Ōmana Regional Park, where the current name is an abbreviated version of an historical pā site, will have its full and appropriate name confirmed and restored through the programme.
Names are considered and put forward by mana whenua and may reflect the local Māori history relating to the area, a cultural activity connected to the site or an important landscape feature. In other cases, an original ancestral name may be returned.
Mayor Phil Goff says, “The council’s vision is that te reo Māori is seen, heard, learned and spoken in everyday life. We also want to help Aucklanders be knowledgeable and proud of the Māori identity and history of our city.
“Our Regional Parks Management Plan acknowledges the importance of our Māori identity, and many of our regional parks already have Māori names, such as Tāpapakanga, Tāwharanui, Whakanewha and Waharau regional parks.”
Te Kete Rukuruku facilitates the collection and sharing of stories unique to the iwi of Tāmaki Makaurau. The programme supports the council’s commitment to te reo Māori being seen heard spoken and learnt throughout the rohe.
Councillor Alf Filipaina, Chair of the Auckland Council’s Parks, Arts, Community and Events Committee, says it is exciting to see regional parks being included in a programme that 15 of the council’s local boards have been involved with for several years.
“Local boards have spoken about the honour in receiving the names, the opportunity to build and strengthen their partnerships with mana whenua as well as the pride in being able to play a part in ensuring these stories are showcased in spaces everyone has access to and for future generations to enjoy.”
“Storytelling is at the heart of every culture, which is why this programme is so important,” says Cr Filipaina.
“I am so pleased that soon people from all over Auckland, New Zealand and the world can visit our regional parks, and not only enjoy their beauty but learn and understand more about our rich Māori history.”
Auckland Council Māori Outcomes Manager Anahera Higgins says Te Kete Rukuruku is led by mana whenua in partnership with Auckland Council and its local boards.
“We’ve learned a lot from undertaking this programme with mana whenua, and as a result have improved our processes to work better with them.
“It has been a great outcome to have names and narratives returned to the areas across Auckland over the past year. There are many wonderful stories that a lot of locals may have not known about in their area.
“The inclusion of regional parks, which are so significant to many Aucklanders, gives greater visibility of these kōrero. This can help to provide deeper knowledge and connection to the whenua and iwi whakapapa.
“An example of these stories is in Manurewa, where Keith Park now also bears the name Te Pua, meaning ‘the blossom’, provided by Te Ākitai Waiohua. This is an abbreviation of the original name for the southern point of Waimāhia / Weymouth, Te Rangi-o-te-pua-karaka - the day of the karaka blossom.
“Te Pua (or Te Pua o te Karaka in full) was the name of the chieftainess of the local iwi, Waiohua. Her mother was out collecting shellfish in this area when she went into labour and gave birth to Te Pua under a karaka tree while it was in full bloom. This name recognises the significance of that event and captures that story for the local community and our future generations.”
Māori Outcomes portfolio lead and Manurewa-Papakura Ward Councillor, Angela Dalton says she is supportive and proud of the work from this programme.
“Auckland Council launched the Te Kete Rukuruku project back in 2017 to collect and share the stories unique to Māori in Auckland, and it’s great to see it extend to our prominent Regional Parks.
“This programme has seen the return of 34 ancestral names so far, with another 91 names referencing wonderful stories. The names often represent what used to be and, in many cases, what has been taken away. I believe they will help to inspire us with what is possible to be returned as we work together towards a better understanding of our country’s history and taonga.”