The renaming of Ceramco Park to Ōkaurirahi

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The local board recently had a formal ceremony to acknowledge the change of name for Ceramco Park.

As part of the Te Kete Rukuruku process Te Kawerau a Maki has gifted to the Local board Te Reo place names for a number of local parks.

All of the names are magnificent and I can recall clearly the excitement I felt when the names and the reason for the names were introduced to us.

The name for Ceramco Park is Ōkaurirahi.

It is a name that provides a perfect description of the area in its previous form.  It is something for us to reflect on. This is important to our community and for the local board, and as I said at the ceremony it is an honour to be playing a part in restoring mana to the land and to the community.

I believe the process is important.

Out west we have a smattering of Maori place names and Pakeha names.

To be frank the Pakeha names lack the beauty and the relevance of the Te Reo names.

The Maori names are beautiful and eloquent and descriptive. Just think of these names:

  • Titirangi – fringe of heaven
  • Karekare – rough sea
  • Piha – a reference to what we know as Lion Rock
  • Whatipu – the name of an ancient taniwha

And to this list we can add Ōkaurirahi – the place of the huge Kauri.  This is a traditional Maori name and it is great to see it being restored to this area.

This is an important process.  Te Reo Maori and Te Ao Maori are integral and unique to Aotearoa New Zealand.  They are beautiful and they need to be preserved and enhanced.

If you want official justification for this in 1986 the Waitangi Tribunal said this when it considered the Te Reo claim:

Some New Zealanders may say that the loss of Maori language is unimportant. The claimants in reply have reminded us that the Maori culture is a part of the heritage of New Zealand and that the Maori language is at the heart of that culture. If the language dies the culture will die, and something quite unique will have been lost to the world.”

That rationale is one of the reasons I believe that making the use of Te Reo part of every day life is so important.

This is one of 19 Te Reo names that were gifted to the local board by Te Kawerau a Maki as part of tranche one of this process.  There are a further 20 names as part of tranche two.

The local board has unashamedly chosen to adopt sole Maori names for many of the parks throughout the Te Kete Rukuruku process.  We believe that proper respect to Te Ao Maori is shown by giving the Te Reo name primacy.

I took the opportunity to thank Te Kawerau a Maki again for this gift and also for their contribution out west, particularly to the protection of Te Wao Nui a Tiriwa, the great forest of Tiriwai in the Waitakere Ranges.

We share a common belief that the ranges need to be protected and enhanced and I expressed the desire that this term Council advances the Deed of Acknowledgement anticipated by the Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area Act.



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