Ngai Tahu has proposed dual names for several significant features in the Aoraki-Mt Cook region.
The New Zealand Geographic Board has opened public consultation on the suggestions, which include altering the names "Mount Cook Range" to "Kirikirikatata / Mount Cook Range", "Tasman Glacier" to "Haupapa / Tasman Glacier", and assigning the name "Aroarokaehe Range" to a currently unnamed section of the Southern Alps.
Ngai Tahu hoped the proposed changes would accommodate what were considered the original Maori names.
According to the background information provided in the submission, Kirikirikatata was the grandfather of Aoraki.
Both Aoraki and Kirikirikatata turned into a mountain (Aoraki- Mount Cook) and its associated range (Mount Cook Range).
Haupapa is a descriptive name for the ice on Tasman Glacier which was passed on to an early recorder of Maori oral history, Herries Beattie, by a Ngai Tahu elder. The name is used widely throughout the Ngai Tahu community.
Aroarokaehe was the wife of Mauka Atua and, with Kirikirikatata and Aoraki, was a passenger on the Arai-te-Uru waka. Mauka Atua became a peak on the Ben Ohau Range, while Aroarokaehe was persuaded by Kirikirikatata to move away from her husband to the larger and closer range next to himself and Aoraki.
Ngai Tahu's submission to the New Zealand Geographic Board said there was general acceptance of dual names among the public, and the numerous alpine names that came about as a result of the 1998 Ngai Tahu Treaty settlement did not appear to have created any issues.
People have until February next year to submit to the board on the proposed changes, while the minister for land and information will make the final decision.
- © Fairfax NZ News