Name change on the cards for troubled suburb

The name Farmer Cres may be scrubbed from street maps as part of plans to revamp a troubled area of Lower Hutt.

Housing New Zealand's development partner, City Living, has released plans for the redevelopment of the street in Pomare.

Eighty-eight Housing New Zealand homes have been demolished on Farmer Cres, leaving a large swathe of vacant land.

The street had gained a notorious reputation after a rash of gang related violence.

In the most recent incident, two gang members were charged with manslaughter after the death of 52-year-old Michael Mulholland on September 20.

City Living director Graeme Cromie said an option being discussed was to rename the street.

Several people in the community had mentioned that the name Farmer Cres had negative connotations, he said.

One name being floated was Lady Pomare Dr, after the wife of former Maori political figure and doctor Maui Pomare.

Any name change would have to go through a Hutt City Council process and community consultation, Mr Cromie said.

The plans provide for a mix of low-cost homes, of which only 20 per cent will be owned by the Housing New Zealand.

This has prompted some concerns from displaced residents, who fear they will not be able to move back.

Proposed features included a public park and vegetable gardens, and a new community centre.

Existing aspects including the health centre, a taniwha sculpture and flax would be retained.

Pomare Community House co-ordinator Princess Jensen said she liked some aspects of the plan, including a focus on healthy homes.

She was not so keen on the new name, however.

The most important thing was that the community continued to be consulted, she said.

Submissions close on January 26.

Contact Paul Easton
Hutt Valley reporter
Twitter: @pwe74

The Dominion Post