Outside scope of consultation

EDITORIAL

Council staff have added some more controversy to the effort to have Gisborne’s original Maori name officially recognised by advising councillors that “material consultation feedback” opposing the name Poverty Bay means they should consider the axing of it and a switch to Turanganui a Kiwa — as well as considering their main recommendation, that they apply to the New Zealand Geographic Board to adopt a dual name of Turanganui a Kiwa/Poverty Bay for the city’s coastal bay feature.

A phenomenal 1856 residents responded to the council’s consultation, with 49.5 percent submitting against the proposed dual name and 47.5 percent for it.

Many residents would say that warrants consideration of the status quo as well.

Strong opposition to the name afforded our bay by Lieutenant James Cook in 1769 does come through loudly in the feedback, as it always has in community conversations. But there are also many who like the historical association, it is part of our “story”, appeals to tourists, and any negatives are minimised by the fact it is not our actual place name.

It seems council staff could be further opening this can of worms with their dual recommendation — something they acknowledge by referring to risks around public perception: “The name change process raises complex and political undercurrents in the community. Poorly managed debate can leave some feeling disaffected.”

They also note the geographic board has in the past maintained names given by Cook (though has no policy on this), that such a change was not in the scope of the consultation, and there could be minor costs in pronunciation education. They are silent on a point that was in the consultation document, that the English word “bay” is required for navigational purposes. Might not Kiwa Bay as a stand-alone name be a better option than Turanganui a Kiwa Bay?

If the council’s consultation process had included the option of removing the name Poverty Bay, it is likely they would have received considerably more feedback in support of this name with such well-known historical associations.

Council staff have added some more controversy to the effort to have Gisborne’s original Maori name officially recognised by advising councillors that “material consultation feedback” opposing the name Poverty Bay means they should consider the axing of it and a switch to Turanganui a Kiwa — as well as considering their main recommendation, that they apply to the New Zealand Geographic Board to adopt a dual name of Turanganui a Kiwa/Poverty Bay for the city’s coastal bay feature.

A phenomenal 1856 residents responded to the council’s consultation, with 49.5 percent submitting against the proposed dual name and 47.5 percent for it.

Many residents would say that warrants consideration of the status quo as well.

Strong opposition to the name afforded our bay by Lieutenant James Cook in 1769 does come through loudly in the feedback, as it always has in community conversations. But there are also many who like the historical association, it is part of our “story”, appeals to tourists, and any negatives are minimised by the fact it is not our actual place name.

It seems council staff could be further opening this can of worms with their dual recommendation — something they acknowledge by referring to risks around public perception: “The name change process raises complex and political undercurrents in the community. Poorly managed debate can leave some feeling disaffected.”

They also note the geographic board has in the past maintained names given by Cook (though has no policy on this), that such a change was not in the scope of the consultation, and there could be minor costs in pronunciation education. They are silent on a point that was in the consultation document, that the English word “bay” is required for navigational purposes. Might not Kiwa Bay as a stand-alone name be a better option than Turanganui a Kiwa Bay?

If the council’s consultation process had included the option of removing the name Poverty Bay, it is likely they would have received considerably more feedback in support of this name with such well-known historical associations.

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.