A Hamilton East street and park have been gifted new names to better reflect the city’s heritage.
Hamilton City Council’s Community Committee yesterday (26 April) approved applications to rename Von Tempsky Street to Puutikitiki Street and the nearby Dawson Park to Te Wehenga Park.
The new te reo Maaori names serve as an opportunity to revive original place names that have a closer relationship to the whenua (land), reflect the area’s history and are significant to mana whenua.
Puutikitiki references the gully area behind Hamilton East School which was part of the Puutikitiki block that Ngaati Parekirangi, a subtribe of Ngaati Wairere, occupied prior to 1864. During discussions, it was noted that tikitiki is the traditional ‘top-knot’ hairstyle worn by high-ranking Maaori chiefs and warriors.
Te Wehenga is the historic Ngaati Parekirangi – Ngaati Haanui urupa (burial ground) that was destroyed when the road cutting went through this land next to the School. The site is considered sacred and the new name recognises the significance of the place for mana whenua Ngaati Wairere.
Committee Chair Councillor Mark Bunting said when we have robust debate, courageous conversations and are able to listen to each other, we can come together and get the best outcomes for our community.
“The case for change was well made and supported by mana whenua along with the Hamilton East School, street residents and businesses. We’ve approved the street and park renaming but it isn’t erasing our history.”
“The way we’re sharing our history and acknowledging our past is changing around the world. It’s a positive thing and this is part of the journey we have been on to enhance the wellbeing of all Hamiltonians,” said Councillor Bunting.
As part of the decision, a commitment was made for interpretive signage and inclusive storytelling as part of the communication plan to support the name changes.
“The way we’re telling our stories is changing and is helping shape the future of our city.”
We’ve been presented with an opportunity to share a different part of our rich history and for residents to learn about the past and the stories of the area. The more we know, the more we can grow.”
The application to rename the road referenced a report by historian Vincent O’Malley which looked at the history behind street names in the city, including Gustavus Ferdinand von Tempsky (1828-1868), who the street was originally named after in 1906.
Property owners and residents will be notified of the change before work happens to replace streets signs, update maps and inform other affected parties including postal and emergency services of the changes.
The street was renamed in line with Council’s current Naming of Roads, Open Spaces and Council Facilities Policy which sets out the process for consultation with residents, businesses and iwi. No other roads were renamed as part of this application including the connecting Dawson Street, which has not been changed.
The process for naming new streets in the Policy is currently under review as part of a separate piece of work and will be up for debate at the next Council meeting on 12 May 2022. No changes have been proposed to the process to rename existing roads.