It's political correctness gone historic: The people behind the PC road names

Stuff.co.nz

We asked Kapiti Coast people, north of Wellington, to have a go at pronouncing seven Maori names proposed for a section of old State Highway 1. It comes after some in the community were concerned the names were unpronounceable.

Their names were attacked as too politically correct, and unpronounceable. But who were they? 

They were, it turns out, people linked by history, merging together like the one road they would cover.

Plans to rename a section of old State Highway 1 on the Kapiti Coast, north of Wellington, drew hundreds of submissions and accusations of "political correctness gone haywire" from some in the community.

The old SH1 at Otaihanga, which would become Rauoterangi Rd.
KEVIN STENT/FAIRFAX NZ

The old SH1 at Otaihanga, which would become Rauoterangi Rd.

Kapiti Coast District Council broke 18 kilometres of former SH1, left after the opening of the $630 million Kapiti Expressway, into seven sections and offered a potential Maori name for each.

The offerings left some less than impressed – wondering why unpronounceable names that were meaningless to the general public were being suggested.

READ MORE:
* Do you know the way to Hurumutu?
* Seven 'unpronounceable names' for road
* CuriousCity: Street names pronounced

Kapiti Island, looking out across Rauoterangi Channel.
JOHN NICHOLSON/STUFF

Kapiti Island, looking out across Rauoterangi Channel.

Six of the seven are significant ancestors to Kapiti Coast iwi, and the seventh is the name of the Maori contingent sent to World War 1.

The proposed names are: Matene Te Whiwhi Rd, Katu Rd, Unaiki Rd, Kaakaakura Rd, Rauoterangi Rd, Hurumutu Rd, and Hokowhitu Rd. 

A Kapiti council group of researchers, including representatives from Kapiti iwi, have issued a report on those seven names they submitted.

The new Kapiti Expressway runs through the middle of the picture, with the old State Highway 1 at the top.
KEVIN STENT/FAIRFAX NZ

The new Kapiti Expressway runs through the middle of the picture, with the old State Highway 1 at the top.

The report, here, gives detailed information on the people behind the names, who, like the road, are connected – in their cases, through shared history, events and blood.

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People in the town of Otaki, in northern Kapiti, might recognise Matene Te Whiwhi – Matene St already bears his name.

Of Ngati Toa and Ngati Raukawa, Te Whiwhi played a role in the creation of the King movement, which continues to this day with its seat in Waikato.

KEVIN STENT/FAIRFAX NZ

Stuff takes an aerial trip along the Kapiti Coast's new expressway.

Together with his cousin Tamihana Te Rauparaha, he was responsible for bringing the first missionary to Otaki, Octavius Hadfield.

Te Whiwhi was an owner of Ngati Raukawa land, which will make way for the expressway.

Unaiki Pukehi, of Ngati Raukawa and Ngati Toa, married Waikanae leader Wi Te Kaakaakura Parata. She played a central role in their influential family, and is buried in the town, beside St Luke's Church.

The old SH1 at the top of the picture, near Raumati. This stretch would become Hokowhitu Rd.
KEVIN STENT/ FAIRFAX NZ

The old SH1 at the top of the picture, near Raumati. This stretch would become Hokowhitu Rd.

Katu, of Ngati Toa, was also known as Tamihana Te Rauparaha – the son of the famous chief Te Rauparaha. 

He signed the Treaty of Waitangi on Kapiti Island in 1840.

Wiremu Te Kaakaakura Parata, of  Te Atiawa and Ngati Toa, was a member of Parliament, an important landowner and an advocate for laws that helped both Maori and Pakeha in New Zealand.

The old SH1 at the bottom of the picture at Peka Peka, with the new Kapiti Expressway in the middle. The road curving ...
Kevin Stent

The old SH1 at the bottom of the picture at Peka Peka, with the new Kapiti Expressway in the middle. The road curving around the top, with the overpass, will become Unaiki Rd, while the link road at the bottom will become Katu Rd.

He was a supporter of Te Whiti o Rongomai, the Maori chief who established non-violent resistance to land confiscation in Taranaki.

Kahe Te Rau-o-te-Rangi, of Ngati Toa, was a woman of mana, one of only five women who signed the Treaty of Waitangi.

The channel between the coast and Kapiti Island bears her name, after her extraordinary feat of swimming it with a child strapped on her back to warn of an invading war party.

Eventually she married Pakeha Jock Nicholl and they opened an inn at Paekakariki, in the south of Kapiti.

Her grandson was Sir Maui Pomare, a Cabinet minister.

Ropata Hurumutu was a Ngati Toa chief, and warrior, who fought alongside Te Rauparaha and eventually settled on land north of Paekakariki.

Hurumutu helped negotiate land sales with the Crown and rented land at what is now known as Mackays Crossing to Alexander Mackay.

Hokowhitu was not a person, but rather the name of the Native Contingent that fought in World War 1. The contingent drew 27 men from between Paekakariki and Levin, who landed at Gallipoli in 1915.

Pahia Ropata from the district was one of the first Maori killed in action at Gallipoli.

Community consultation over the names drew 400 submissions.

A final decision on the names will be made by councillors later this year. It will take into account community feedback, including alternative name suggestions, and whether the seven-section approach is wanted.

- Information on the names came from the council working party report.

 - Stuff

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