Campaign to relabel Blenheim gets nod from winemakers

Moa Brewery in Blenheim sits among Marlborough's vines. Photo / Supplied
Moa Brewery in Blenheim sits among Marlborough's vines. Photo / Supplied

It's home to some of the country's best wine, so why would Blenheim want to change its name?

Well, according to some of the town's bigwigs, a lot of people don't know where it is.

They're hoping a campaign to relabel the town Marlborough City will boost tourism.

While the Marlborough region is renowned for scenery and wine, many think Blenheim is passed over because people don't know where or what it is.

Moa Brewing Company founder Josh Scott said changing the name would entice more people to check it out.

He said it would get people talking about it as a destination, and if famous people can rename themselves, why can't Blenheim.

Blenheim isn't the only town to try and start afresh.

Hamilton tried to rename itself Waikato City in the late 1990s but was shot down before the rest of the country knew what was going on. It made it to referendum, however, but the results proved residents didn't want a bar of the idea.

In 2013, the idea popped up in Palmerston North after it received a kick in the guts from John Cleese "We had a thoroughly, bloody miserable time there" and then Jeremy Clarkson and his "Jesus would have been from Palmerston North" comment.

But, back in Blenheim, the name change is getting the nod from some of the big guns in the booze industry.

Allan Scott Family Estate general sales manager Mitchell Gardiner told Fairfax he realised people might laugh at the idea but the group was motivated for the good of the region.

He attended a show by comedian Dai Henwood, where Blenheim was the butt of a number of jokes, and it concerned him that people might perceive the town as boring, or not know where it was.

Community support for a name change would a major factor to be considered by the New Zealand Geographic Board, which is responsible for giving the green light to any name change.

Board chairman Mark Dyer said anyone could make a name proposal to the board, but it had to be backed up by consultation with iwi, residents, businesses and local authorities.

Mr Dyer said it was very helpful for the board to get an indication of the community's thoughts

If the proposal was supported, residents would have three months to make submissions.

Mr Dyer said there was no formal definition of what constituted a city under the Geographic Board Act, so Blenheim's population size shouldn't be a factor.

- NZ Herald

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