Kirikiriroa more reflective of modern nature of Hamilton City - opinion
Hamilton's mayor, Andrew King, is looking to change the council's official name to the Kirikiriroa City Council to reflect the city's true history.
"Hamilton is a small part of our history. There is a lot more history than when the Europeans have been here."
The city was named after Captain John Fane Charles Hamilton who was a member of the British Armed Forces in the 1800's. He was killed at the battle of Pukehinahina in Tauranga.
Tame Pokaia, kaumātua for the city council and WINTEC, says he doesn't like the fact Hamilton is named after a man who never lived in the area.
"I mate tērā tangata ki Tauranga, engari, kāre ia i haere mai ki te noho ki tēnei whenua. Ka ingoatia te whenua o tērā tangata ko Hamilton. Kāre au e tautoko i tērā ingoa."
Before the city became known as Hamilton, it was once a settlement along the banks of the Waikato River named Kirikiriroa, so named for its fertile soil, and local Māori say that not only is the name reflective of the modern nature of the city, but it continues to be widely recognised by Māori.
"Kei te mōhio te tangata whenua, te Māori, ki tērā ingoa," hei tā Pokaia. "Ko ngā tāngata mai o waho, o Waikato, o Kirikiriroa kāre i tino mōhio te hītori o te whenua nei."
While there are no plans to change the official name of the city, it has been reported that King Tuheitia is supportive of the move to change the council's name. However, the decision to change the name of the council rests in the hands of the councillors themselves, as explained by Mr Pokaia.
"I kōrero te koromatua me te Kīngi i ngā rā kua taha ake nei, kōrero tahi rāua. Kua whakatakoto te koromatua i te whakaaro i tēnei wā i te mea mā ngā kaikaunihera katoa e whakamana i te whakaaro o te koromatua. Kāre e taea e ia ko ia anake te whakamana i tērā ingoa."
Mr King adds that consultation is an important part of this proposed change.
"Obviously our iwi consultation is very important on this one as well as our European, talking to both sides. This isn't about one side or the other. This is where we want to listen to both sides."
The council is set to debate the issue this Thursday.