Submissions swing in favour of Maxwell name change proposal

Published on February 09, 2021

Karaka tree

Whanganui District Council has resolved to support an application by Ngāti Maika of Ngā Rauru Kiitahi to the New Zealand Geographic Board to change the name of Maxwell to Pākaraka.

On 3 August 2020 the council agreed to work in partnership with Ngāti Maika of Ngā Rauru Kiitahi to make the application to the New Zealand Geographic Board and to carry out the community consultation required to support the application.

In a council meeting held on 9 February, 2021, Policy Team Leader, Jasmine Hessell, presented the results of the consultation, which was conducted between 23 November and 21 December, 2020.

She said, “Letters were sent directly to property owners in the Maxwell locality, and additional advertising and media promotion was undertaken to enable others with an interest in the area to submit.”

255 submissions were received and Jasmine Hessell said 189 supported the renaming of Maxwell to the proposed name of Pākaraka, while 58 opposed the renaming.

Four were neutral and preferred to leave the decision to the NZGB, one submitted an alternative suggestion for the name of the township and two others sought further consultation to identify a name suitable to both Pakeha and Māori.

Jasmine Hessell said, “In light of the significant public interest in this proposal, and the consultation requirements of the New Zealand Geographic Board, clarification of the council’s position in relation to the name change itself is being sought.”

In response, councillors accepted a resolution to formally support the renaming application.

Mayor Hamish McDouall said, “We recognise that partnership has been requested and also that Ngā Rauru Kiitahi’s Deed of Settlement with the Crown, signed in 2005, specifically encouraged discussions between Whanganui District Council and Ngā Rauru in relation to the name of Maxwell.   

“We have already resolved to work in partnership in relation to this application,” he said. “In particular by carrying out the community consultation required.

“However, our resolution today formalises Whanganui District Council’s support for Ngāti Maika of Ngā Rauru Kiitahi’s application to the New Zealand Geographic Board and signals that we acknowledge the importance of this historical grievance being recognised and addressed.”

All information received during the consultation period has now been forwarded to Ngā Rauru Kiitahi so that Ngāti Maika’s application can be prepared. The New Zealand Geographic Board’s next meeting is on 20 April 2021.


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