Community Board supports change of name for reserve

The Maori King's office wants to change the name of a reserve named simply for its shape on a map to one marking the Kiingitanga movement's leaders.

The proposal, to change the name of Octagon Reserve to Kiingitanga Reserve would help mark Ngaruawahia's 150th anniversary and was discussed at this month's Ngaruawahia Community Board meeting after the Waikato District Council asked for the board's view.

In a report to the community board, Waikato District Council iwi and community partnership manager Marae Tukere said the reserve had been known as the Octagon Reserve since 1864 but the name itself "appears to hold no great significance and in fact there doesn't appear to any other reason for the name of the park other than the shape of the reserve on the early survey map".

Waikato District Council property officer Rob Wheeler confirmed this, stating there was no specific names on the early plans for the site.

Discussions in the report to the board said that as the Ngaruawahia Structure Plan was in development, early feedback has indicated a general community interest in capitalising on the history and heritage of Ngaruawahia to attract visitors. "Kiingitanga Reserve could be seen as a useful addition to the attractions in Ngaruawahia," the report said.

Department of Conversation has also been contacted about the name change, as the small hill which is home to the monument to the first Maori King, Potatau, is a designated DOC reserve.

DOC said the name of the reserve could be changed in the plan to whatever the council deemed suitable "without any consequence".

Financial implications of the name change would involve existing signage, which was proposed to be updated over time.

The report stated that approving the name change would be a "significant acknowledgement of the importance of Waikato Tainui and the Kiingitanga not just to Ngaruawahia, but to the Waikato district".

After discussion by community board members, it was proposed the Ngaruawahia Community Board support in principle the proposal to change the name of the Octagon Reserve to Kiingitanga Reserve.

Board chairwoman Trish Forsyth said she was "more than happy" to support a change in name of the reserve.

She and the board felt it was a fitting way to recognise the sesquicentennial commemorations for the town.

Another report has since been done and will go to the Waikato District Council meeting on March 10.

Waikato Times