Maori name proposed for Far North Council

It was interesting to see people’s reactions on Maori TV to deputy mayor McInnes proposal to change the name of the Far North Council. They asked “Why?” or suggested she talk to the people or concentrate on fixing infrastructure first and foremost. 

While not necessarily the same issue, there does seem to be a covert campaign to revise or bury a significant part of New Zealand’s history and culture by changing geographical names throughout the country.

Gisborne Mayor Meng Foon has been advocating that Poverty Bay be changed to Turanganui a Kiwa. (And Gisborne to Tairawhiti for good measure.) While an online poll showed 62% for keeping Poverty Bay, this counts for naught. Radical politicians and bureaucrats (in this case, the New Zealand Geographic Board Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa) have a habit of finding ways to ride roughshod over democracy to achieve their plans.

Admittedly, many of us have become used to Aoraki/Mt Cook and Mt Taranaki/Egmont, helped by their shorter and easier to pronounce Maori names. But how do you feel about Te Ika-a-Maui and Te Waipounamu – now official names for the North and South Islands?

Actually, it doesn’t matter how you feel!  A Stuff online poll recorded 81% against this, but those Kiwis were ignored. And a district referendum recording 77% against changing the spelling of Wanganui to Whanganui was also disregarded.

Ignoring referendums has become standard fare under recent governments (just see how Attorney-General Chris Finlayson is getting around ratepayers’ refusal of a race-based council in Taranaki).

It’s not just Kiwis who struggle with names with numerous syllables. Tourists are either totally confused or don’t even try. Many of the adventurers travelling thousands of miles to spend 6 months walking Te Araroa (our national walkway from Cape Reinga to Bluff) refer to it as TA and stumble and stutter if you ask what the initials stand for. Kiwis often mix it up with Te Aroha.

Meanwhile the media, bureaucrats, academics and other leftist zealots are working hard to convince us that we now live in Aotearoa (despite the 600 or so very separate tribes living here in 1840 never having a word for all of these islands). And the Government-owned Air New Zealand staff are now announcing to passengers that they are arriving in Tamaki Makaurau (i.e. Auckland).

Come 2018, Hawkes Bay Airport will change to Ahuriri Airport. Other work-in-progress will see 30 geographical features with a name change in Marlborough and there’ll be 11 in the Far North. Check with the Council for what’s proposed in your area.

As we know with the long-drawn out Ngapuhi Treaty settlement, it’s long past the time that they had anything to do with historic land confiscations. They are being put in place to increase the economic, political and social standing of tribal elites.

Such is certainly the case in Auckland where the successful tribal invaders, Ngati Whatua, happily sold their spoils to the Government for the establishment of the city. Despite this, their Treaty settlement involves 20 name changes of iconic features (volcanic cones and islands) so One Tree Hill has become Maungakiekie, Mt Hobson (named after the founder of Auckland City) has become Ohinerau, etc. 

It’s good to know we can rely on Mainlanders for a bit of resistance. Dunedin parents recently stopped the re-branding of two schools combining on the site of the former Caversham School as Otepoti South. Faced with suggestions of a boycott, the Education Ministry accepted the name Carisbrook, the site being just along the road from the former, famous rugby ground. 

In another example of Southern resistance, parishioners queried their Minister when he started referring to their church as being of Aotearoa. Unable to account for the process by which the country had changed its name, he decided that an error had been made............. So it can be done!

The culture that brought democracy, legal equality, law and order, property rights, and an end to tribal wars and slavery to these islands deserves acknowledgment. Recognition of outstanding achievers, such as James Cook and Governor Hobson, must certainly not be obliterated. They did nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, we all should be in awe of them and their accomplishments. Not many of us (of Maori, British or other ethnic descent) would want to be here if they hadn’t been here first and done what they did.

We Kiwis should be proud of our shared history. We can recognise, enjoy and celebrate our combined cultures without having to eliminate or subjugate all vestiges of British involvement. So it’s time to make your views known to those of power and influence, before we completely lose our rights to be heard.

Fiona Mackenzie

First published in the Northland Age on March 23, 2017.