Pākaraka signs will be installed this weekend

Published on January 19, 2023

karaka berries.jpg

The township of Pākaraka (formerly Maxwell) will have new signs installed this weekend and a blessing ceremony will acknowledge the historic significance of the occasion for the small locality north of Whanganui.

The ceremony, which is open to the public, will be held on Saturday, 21 January at Pākaraka Marae. The event starts at 10.00 am and the blessing of the signs will be followed by lunch.

Ngāti Maika spokesperson Derek Carroll, says, “The hapū is pleased to be hosting the ceremony and all members of the community are welcome to attend.”

After the ceremony, a small group including members of the community and Ngāti Maika, hapū of Ngā Rauru Kītahi, will install the signs.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has granted an exemption for the contractors to work on a long weekend. Health and safety precautions are required to be undertaken as part of a traffic management plan which limits the installation party to four people, nominated by Ngāti Maika.

Derek Carroll says, “The placement of the signage is an important part of the transition.”

“This has been a long journey for mana whenua and Waka Kotahi is in support of this historic occasion,” says Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency System Manager Rob Service.

Assistance provided by Waka Kotahi has included taking care of arrangements for the installation of the new northern sign, arranging a traffic management plan for the placing of the signs onto the posts by the hapū installation group and arranging for contractors Higgins to tighten bolts, and level the signs.

Rob Service says, “Waka Kotahi values the opportunity to support Ngāti Maika and Whanganui District Council in the renaming of Pākaraka.”

Whanganui District Council will formally deliver the signs to Ngāti Maika, on Friday 20 January.

The council supported Ngāti Maika’s 2021 application to the New Zealand Geographic Board to change the name of the locality of Maxwell to Pākaraka and chief executive David Langford says, “Community consultation was required as part of the renaming process and we were pleased to be able to assist with this.”

He says, “255 submissions were received with 189 supporting the renaming of Maxwell to the proposed name of Pākaraka.”

Associations with the name Maxwell have been a grievance carried for generations and are a reminder of historical pain, in particular the attack on Māori children in 1868 in what is known as the Handley Woolshed incident.

The Ngā Rauru Deed of Settlement recognised the Handley Woolshed incident and encouraged discussions between Whanganui District Council and the Ngā Rauru Iwi Authority or the Governance Entity in relation to the name of the town of Maxwell.

Ngāti Maika’s application to the New Zealand Geographic Board was upheld in February 2022.




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