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Decision on name change tomorrow

GISBORNE district councillors meet tomorrow to consider whether to submit an application to change the region’s name to a dual name of Turanganui a Kiwa/Poverty Bay, or to adopt the original Maori name only.

The dual name, Option 2, is the option recommended by council staff and would result in the council sending a name change application to the New Zealand Geographic Board (NZGB).

The council agenda said the recommended option offered formal recognition of both Maori and non-Maori place names. But it was “considered prudent to offer an alterative recommendation for consideration given the material consultation feedback suggested council consider removing Poverty Bay from the name”.

Removing Poverty Bay and replacing it with Turanganui a Kiwa is Option 3.

The other options are — Option 1: Make Poverty Bay official. The name, like many New Zealand place names, is not registered with NZGB;

Option 4: Use either name.

The council has consulted with “key partners” including iwi, heritage and youth advocates and Kaiti School, who asked the council in 2013 to change the region’s name to Turanganui a Kiwa.

The public consultation process involved public notices, media releases, nationally-broadcast interviews and a story-telling event on Waitangi Day.

There was an oral history interview with Turanga iwi representatives on the significance of Turanganui a Kiwa as a place name.

A total of 1836 submissions were received.

There were also letters of support from Eloise Wallace (director of Tairawhiti Museum) and Dame Jenny Shipley (chairwoman of the organising committee for Tuia-Encounters 250), who both supported a dual name, and Matene Blandford (chairman of Ngai Tamanuhiri Tutu Poroporo Trust), who supported the use of Turanganui a Kiwa only.

According to consultation, out of 1856 respondents, 49.46 percent opposed a dual name, 47.52 supported it and 3.02 percent were not sure.

Participant were 55.22 percent New Zealand European, 51.88 percent Maori and 76.46 percent live in the city.

See today's editorial