Hamilton City Council proposes name change to Te Reo Maori alternative



Seven Sharp | NZN

A proposal to change Hamilton's local government name to Kirikiriroa City Council to reflect the region's Maori heritage is set for debate.

Changing the name to Kirikiriroa City Council has raised eyebrows.
Source: Seven Sharp

Hamilton Mayor Andrew King suggested the council name change in his mayor's monthly report, which will be discussed at a council meeting on Thursday.

He said he had talked to iwi about how Hamilton could work in better partnership with its Maori people and will ask councillors this week to vote on whether a report should be commissioned to look into the process for a name change.

"It's time that we look at our history as a whole and have the conversation about whether Hamilton is the right name or whether we look at ... our traditional name," he earlier told RNZ.

He said Kirikiriroa was the old settlement right in Hamilton's city centre and it meant a long stretch of gravel soil suitable for cultivation.

"That's exactly what Hamilton is, it's rich soils and it's ripe for residential, cultural and economic growth. So it's the right name for this area," he said.

However, Tame Pokaia says local iwi aren't happy with the fact that the city was named Hamilton in the first place, due to its historical significance.

"John Hamilton was killed over in Tauranga in the Battle of Gate Pa, they came here for one reason and the intent was to take that fertile valley.

"It was to take those rich lands off the Maori people whether it was to kill and they didn't discriminate - it was men, women, and children," Mr Pokaia said.

The cost associated with changing the Hamilton City Council's name shouldn't be an issue according to Mr Pokaia.

"He didn't even set foot here, so we carry a name which is of tragedy, which is of greed, and which is of hatred.

"How would you feel if your grandparents lay in that grave today? Those little children lay in that grave today? Would you feel happy and say move on, we're all one, it's going to cost too much?"

Last week, Gisborne district councillors voted 13-1 to apply to the NZ Geographic Board to change Poverty Bay's name to Turanganui a Kiwa/Poverty Bay.

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