Dual name for Tūranganui-a-Kiwa / Poverty Bay approved

breaking By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

Poverty Bay’s name is 'richer' with the inclusion of Te Reo in the new name of “Tūranganui-a-Kiwa / Poverty Bay” Minister for Land Information Eugenie Sage announced today.

In recent months, Te Kāea spoke to Wirangi Pera of local tribe Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki, who says, “To us this is a significant development to recognise to the original name that we know as Tūranganui-a-Kiwa.”

“Tūranganui-a-Kiwa / Poverty Bay” applies only to the bay enclosed by Young Nick’s Head (Te Kuri) and Tuaheni Point, in accordance with the original request by Gisborne District Council.  It does not apply to the wider landscape and region often referred to as Poverty Bay, nor to Gisborne or any other area. The name “Tūranganui-a-Kiwa” can be translated as the great [or long] standing place of Kiwa.  

When Captian Cook landed at Tūranganui-a-Kiwa in 1769, he called it Poverty Bay because there was "no one thing" he or his crew wanted from the area.

Minister Sage says, “On one hand the restoration of the traditional Māori name Tūranganui-a-Kiwa for the bay is long overdue for local iwi, given the importance of their tupuna or ancestor. At the same time there is significant heritage value associated with the name Poverty Bay being given by Captain James Cook and recognising his first landing in New Zealand, as well as use of the name by local people.”

In recent months, Te Kāea spoke to the Principal at Kaiti School in Gisborne, Billie-Jean Potaka Ayton who says, “We're not poor, we've got our reo [language], we have our land, we have our whānau [families], we have our community, for us as Maori that's what makes us feel rich, and Poverty Bay doesn't reflect that for us as a community.”

In 2013 students at Kaiti School submitted a petition to the council with 2,500 signatures asking for the name change to recognise the original name.

“They (the students) thought that original name better reflected who they were as Māori and so they thought what can we do about it", says Potaka Ayton.

The Minister’s decision followed a proposal for a dual name from Gisborne District Council to the New Zealand Geographic Board/Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa (the Board) in March 2018.   

NZ Geographic Board received over 600 submissions, with a quarter wanting to retain "Poverty Bay", a quarter preferring just "Tūranganui-a-Kiwa", and a quarter of respondents backing the dual name "Tūranganui-a-Kiwa / Poverty Bay". The remaining submissions offered ambiguous support or were neutral.

“In making my decision I considered that the Gisborne District Council’s proposal followed several years of discussion and debate within the community. Further to this, the Board consulted for three months and received 609 submissions”, says Minister Sage.

In recent months, Te Kāea spoke to Gisborne District Council Mayor Meng Foon who says, “Similar to Taranaki Mt. Egmont, at the time when they added Taranaki there were a number of complaints, although now we don't really hear the name Mt. Egmont."

“This is my challenge to others around the country, what are you doing with the names of your ancestors?”, says Wirangi Pera.

Maps, navigation charts and other resources will now be updated to reflect the change.