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Majority support restoring Maori name of New Zealand town.

20 Apr 2023 2 minute read
Kororāreka, New Zealand. Photo by Merlin is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

A three-month window on submissions to restore the original Maori name of Russell, a town in New Zealand’s North Island, has now closed, but a local Maori activist says she is confident more than 80% of submitted proposals have been in favour.

Kororāreka was renamed by European settlers some time in the 1840s, after the leader of the British House of Commons, Lord John Russell, a man who never even set foot in New Zealand.

Kororāreka Marae Society chairperson Deb Rewiri said some Russellites wanted to retain the name Russell, and so have Kororāreka/Russell, “but we said the New Zealand mapping board are not in favour of having dual names,” she said.

The literal translation of the original name Kororāreka is ‘sweet penguin.’

This comes from the local story of a sick Maori chief who was given some soup made from a blue penguin, which he declared tasted sweet (‘Kororāreka’ = the little blue penguin; and ‘reka’ = sweet).

The Far North District Council has supported the proposed change, though Deputy Mayor Kelly Stratford said some residents remained opposed.

Rewiri said people opposing the name change had been asked not to just rant, but to explain exactly why they were opposed, and put some rationale behind their thinking:

“I wated people to think more deeply around why they didn’t want the restoration of the name Kororāreka,” she said.

Land Information NZ said it was still counting received submissions before presenting them to the Geographic Board of New Zealand in June.

A ruling by the Geographic Board is expected later this year.


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Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
10 months ago

A conversation between two men in my company this morning was bemoaning the ‘name change’ to Bannau Brycheiniog. I didn’t get involved but felt sick in my stomach. Their ignorance prevented them from recognising that the name they intended to continue using WAS in fact the changed version and this was the long overdue correction just like the ‘f’ into and the ‘v’ out of Caernarfon and the ‘a’ out of Conwy. Simple corrections, no dramas. Nobody moans about those anymore and represent battles won. Use Bannau Brycheiniog and we will win this one. Then we can move on to… Read more »

Ieu
Ieu
10 months ago
Reply to  Fi yn unig

Exactly. Already the precedent of using only Felinheli.

Mi gawn ni weld be sy’n mynd i ddigwydd

Dafydd B
Dafydd B
10 months ago
Reply to  Fi yn unig

I live in Monmouthshire and every day see similar examples – Llanover, Llanellen, Goytre, Llanfair Kilgedin etc. Time to reclaim our proper names and be a confident nation. Ignore the Bannau Brycheiniog moaners who complain that tourism will grind to a halt and that they cannot pronounce the “new name”, that it will cost millions for new signs. Amser I fod yn gryf

russell
russell
10 months ago

As someone called Russell I fully approve of this

Ed Jones
Ed Jones
10 months ago

Da iawn Aotearoa!

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