Nikki Preston

Nikki Preston is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

Turangi streets to get a capital Te

Local iwi want 14 of the town's 84 street names and three reserve names changed. Photo / Supplied
Local iwi want 14 of the town's 84 street names and three reserve names changed. Photo / Supplied

GPS devices may pay attention to plans to rename almost a quarter of Turangi's streets - but some long-term residents certainly won't.

Local iwi want 14 of the town's 84 street names and three reserve names changed to either new Maori names or to the correct Maori spelling with "Te" added to them.

The proposal has been approved by the local community board but has to be approved by the Taupo District Council on September 26.

The most drastic renamings include changing Gibson St Hangarito St, Tod Close to Wharepapa Close, Crescent Reserve to Kohineheke Reserve and Cherry Tree Reserve to Te Koko Reserve.

Herekiekie St resident Colin Fowler, whose street would change to Te Herekiekie St, said it was ridiculous and didn't need to be changed.

"I would go and cut the Te off the front of the sign ... I wouldn't bother to change anything because it will still get delivered to Herekiekie St.

But then again my Navman would put me in the wrong street."

Gary Gay, who worked as an engineer on various power projects in the area when the streets were being named, objected to changes which would wipe out the town's more recent history.

Gibson St and Dekker Drive - in an industrial area on the outskirts of Turangi - were named after project engineers Warren Gibson and Bert Dekker.

"I feel it was just a little bit small minded that those two names could not be retained for the contribution those two guys did for the recent history of the town," Mr Gay said.

But Turangi Tongariro Community Board chairman Gary Keepa said the local hapu asked for names to be changed 13 years ago.

He believed the community would eventually get used to the new names.

"It will take a long time before people use those new names anyway ... I think the community will just refer to them as the old street names that they're known as.

"So I don't think the old names are going to die that easy."

Businesses will also be affected by the change as Tautahanga Rd would be extended to include part of Ohuanga Rd, which runs through the town where a number of businesses are based.

Tautahanga Rd would also be renamed Te Rangitautahanga Rd.

Turangitukua Maori Committee chairman Jeffrey Bennett said the main reason for proposing the name change was to correct the spelling of their tupuna (ancestors).

"It's not about the amount of work the engineers have done."

The community board expected the engineers whose names would be removed from street signs would be honoured in another way.

Replacing the street signs will cost $2500, and will be funded from the council's budgets over the next two years.

The new signs would be put up alongside the original signs for a six-month period before the old signs were removed and businesses were consulted.

New Zealand Post spokeswoman Jaimee Burke said working with councils to change street names was usual business for the postal service.

It was a straightforward process to ensure mail was sorted accurately to reach residents at their new addresses.

- NZ Herald

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