Board tackles slithery road naming issue

The emotive issue of whose choice for new road names should take precedence, developers or Māori, came up again at the monthly Rodney Local Board meeting on October 18.

Members were asked to approve names for five new roads in the large Warkworth Ridge development, north of Te Honohono ki Tai Road.
Auckland Council guidelines allow developers to submit their preferences, though actively encourage Māori names, and Ngati Manuhiri Settlement Trust frequently ‘gifts’ suggested names. In either event, all road names should reflect one of three local themes:
• a historical, cultural or ancestral link to the area
• a particular landscape, environmental or biodiversity theme or feature
• an existing (or introduced) thematic identity of the area

The applicant, Templeton Warkworth Ridge, gave three preferences for Māori names – Mahinga Avenue, Kawakawa Lane and Hoteo Lane – the first two were gifted to them by the Ngati Manuhiri Settlement Trust (NMST). Their other two preferred choices were Umar Court, an Irish word meaning water trough, as a nod to the Irish heritage of the developer, and Beaumont Rise from the French meaning beautiful mountain.

Templeton representative Dan Ogle told the meeting this was because the road went up a hill towards the highest point of the new subdivision.

However, Auckland Council staff recommended that instead of Beaumont Rise, members should opt for the NMST gifted name, Pa Tuna Rise, which means weir for catching eels.

Ogle said because of the road’s siting and elevation, the developer would prefer to accept the Māori name for another new road lower down and closer to a stream that runs through the land.

Tim Holdgate also questioned why Blythen Avenue, a name gifted by the Warkworth A&P Show in honour of local farmers Dean and

Marjorie Blythen, had still not been accepted. Council staff said guidelines did not recommend roads being named after people who were still living “as community attitudes and opinions about people can change over time”.

Geoff Upson moved an amendment to the recommendation to accept all the suggested road names except Pa Tuna Rise, which should be changed to Beaumont Rise. This was approved by five votes to four.

Louise Johnston, who voted against, said the change would offend NMST and she feared they would withdraw the road names.

“They were so angry last time we did this,” she said. “It’s a French name in a Kiwi country. I think we have to remember we’re in New Zealand. It makes me so angry.”

Michelle Carmichael asked for it to be made clear to NMST that the name Pa Tuna Rise had not been rejected and it would be used elsewhere in the Warkworth Ridge development.