The history and naming issues surrounding the Clive River will be explored in a more detailed report to help make a decision on whether it should be renamed.
Hawke's Bay Regional Council's Maori Committee made the decision at its meeting yesterday following a request to reinstate the name Ngaruroro to the river.
The committee has asked the regional council for detailed research on the Clive River, which was originally the lower end of the Ngaruroro River before it was diverted as part of a flood control scheme in the 1960s.
The committee expects the research will help it come to a conclusion on whether the Clive River should be renamed. If it decides on a change, the proposal would be sent to the New Zealand Geographic Board which will make the final decision.
Committee member Peter Paku said the Ngaruroro River had changed its course twice naturally during the 1800s and again as part of the flood scheme in the 1960s.
"That is three times that we know of. There are so many stories and people connected to the river that the council needs to compile a report so it fits correctly."
He said there had been strong support during the 1970s to name the river "Clive" to recognise the town and the people who helped the wider economic development of the district.
Mr Paku also noted there were several names for the Karamu Stream depending on where it flowed.
The Clive River was now the main outlet for the Karamu Stream and councillor Ewan McGregor said he found it confusing the river changed names "half way through".
"I find it somewhat confusing that the Clive River may retain its old Ngaruroro name. Why can't it be called Karamu to the sea?"
Committee member Rangi Spooner said the river was also subject to a Treaty of Waitangi claim and any suggestion of a name change should be passed by the claimant group first.
Regional council chairman Fenton Wilson said the committee could instruct the council to work on research which would "pull all the strands" of information together on the river.
"We will be able to see a chronological order of where the river did run and get a real flavour for its history."
Comments on social media suggest the name could be hyphenated to "Clive-Ngaruroro" while others questioned the cost of updating maps and signs if a change was approved.
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