Wellingtonian wants "A Māori name for everything"

By Tema Hemi

Wellingtonians are embracing Māori name changes to some of the capital's biggest landmarks as Taranaki Whānui ki te Upoko o te Ika have gifted the original name of Paekākā to replace the name of the Wellington Botanical Gardens. 

Paekākā (Perch of the Kākā) recalled the fragrant Hīnau trees that attracted Kākā then and now.

Honiana Love, Mana Whenua Representative on the Local Council Name Select Committee explained, "Paekākā was a name that was brought down from Taranaki by Ngāti Mutunga who were the first people of our Taranaki people to settle in that area".

Love stated that Wellington was rich in Māori names that referenced historical or environmental points in time.

Love also says, "I think when we look back at our tūpuna one of the things, one of the legacies they left us was that names helped understand our landscape and helped us cement our place on a landscape".

Deputy Mayor of Wellington Jill Day has been the driving force of this initiative at council level and is proud of her citys' commitment to Te Reo Māori. 

Day explained, "We are making sure that mana whenua are able to share the history with us and for us it means our Te Reo Māori policy is coming to life".

The Wellington City Council still have their sights set on being the first 'Te Reo Māori' capital in the world and it seems to rubbing off on to the locals.

One Wellington local says, "Absolutely 100% I think it’s amazing. I’ve been loving the Te wiki o Te Reo Māori, signs and everything all over the place. I wish it was something that happened everyday".

Another says, "Why not? All for it. That makes our morning seeing the Kākā come out of the forest".

"Yeah absolutely. I mean there should be a Māori name for everything". 

Love concludes, "I’m glad that all our people here in Aotearoa are seeing the importance and the beauty of our unique language".

The name Paekākā would apply to the area from the top of the Cable Car around the Pukehīnau area, down to the Waipaekākā stream and Pakuao Kāinga in Thorndon.