Plan to give SH1 seven 'unpronounceable' Maori names decried as 'PC gone haywire'
Plans for renaming part of State Highway 1 have been blasted for offering "unpronounceable" Maori words and over-complicating a simple strip of asphalt.
Some have called it "PC gone haywire" while others say it's just part of being a Kiwi.
About 18 kilometres of SH1 are set to become local roads after being superseded by the $630 million Kapiti expressway, north of Wellington.
Kapiti Coast District Council's plan to split the continuous road into seven sections and give it seven Maori names has generated 400 public submissions.
The Maori names have been slammed as too difficult to pronounce by some.
But Kapiti's mayor says most people know how to say the All Blacks' haka Ka Mate, so they can probably learn a bit more.
The proposed names are: Matene Te Whiwhi Rd, Katu Rd, Unaiki Rd, Kakakura Rd, Rauoterangi Rd, Hurumutu Rd, and Hokowhitu Rd.
Paraparaumu man Mike Judd said there should be one name for the old SH1, and he believed some of the proposed new Maori names were too difficult to pronounce.
The country needed to stop "looking back over our shoulders" at past history and move on, he said.
"I'm not a racist. I've just come back from a family reunion where there's a very big percentage of Maori, in my family."
Judd described the process to rename SH1 as "political correctness gone haywire". The seven-section approach was ridiculous, confusing and made a simple issue more complicated, he said.
Most of the highway was already known as Main Rd, Main Rd North and Main Rd South.
Waikanae man Brian Wheeler said he preferred Main Rd be kept, with perhaps each nearest town added.
The potential names were often unpronounceable, and to the general public they were "meaningless", he said.
"They do have a meaning to the Maori people, perhaps, if they still follow their language."
Six of the words were names of significant ancestors of Kapiti iwi, and one was the name of the Native Contingent that fought in World War 1, which included many local iwi men.
Local iwi and Te Reo speaker Jack McDonald, the Green Party's candidate for the Te Tai Hauauru electorate, said the language was part of this nation's collective history.
"I would commend the council for taking this step. It's a way of educating the community about our own local history."
Much of that Maori history was not well known, such as the fact Wi Parata - whose name Kakakura is one of the proposals - gifted land to Pakeha, he said.
Making an effort to learn Maori pronunciation was "just part and parcel" of being a New Zealander, he said.
Kapiti Mayor K Gurunathan said the decision was part of a national conversation about Maori involvement in community decision-making.
Maori culture had "given you victory on the rugby field" and he pointed out many people had learned all the words of Ka Mate, the haka used by the All Blacks, which came from local iwi Ngati Toa.
The New Zealand Transport Agency did not respond to questions, including how much it paid for the renaming process.
Waikanae man Roger Bould was not bothered by the proposed Maori names, but said: "giving one long road a whole lot of names" was a waste of time.
"It doesn't matter if they're Maori or English, I don't see the point of giving them a whole lot of names."
The council said the seven sections fitted the current address numbering system along the road, so houses would not need to be re-numbered.
Having one name for the entire road would actually mean people had to renumber their properties, it said.
A final decision on 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.
PROPOSED NAME CHANGES FOR SH1
Between Paekakariki and Mackays Crossing becomes Hurumutu Rd
Between Poplar Ave to Kapiti Rd becomes Hokowhitu Rd
Between Paraparaumu north and the Waikanae River becomes Rauoterangi Rd
Main road through Waikanae becomes Kakakura Rd
Between Waikanae and Peka Peka becomes Unaiki Rd
Hadfield Rd connection becomes Katu Rd
Between Peka Peka Road and Te Kowhai Rd becomes Matene Te Whiwhi Rd
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