Far North Deputy Mayor Tania McInnes was looking for feedback on her suggestion last week that the time might have come for the Far North to take a new name. And she got it.
The response on the Northland Age Facebook page was swift and unambiguous, some suggesting that the Far North needed a new deputy Mayor more than a new name.
There was some support in favour of Te Hiku o Te Ika a Maui or Muriwhenua, but the great majority of responses revealed great affection for the name Far North.
Ms McInnes emphasised that she was expressing her personal thoughts when she suggested a change of name, as opposed to the council's, and that no work was currently being done to change the name.
She recognised last week that there was an affinity to 'the Far North'.
"But it really doesn't capture who we are. It isn't a great marketing tool, and then there's the baggage. I believe a fresh approach is needed, something aspirational that will be part of changing our story. A name that celebrates tō tātou - our place."
Her aim, she said as the furore began to die down, had been to sow a seed, to open a discussion around a topic that had been "milling around" for some time, about the district's identity.
"We are a huge district, the biggest in the North Island, covering many rohe/communities," she said, adding that it was fair to say that the discussion had started with a bang, "although here in the 'Mid North' it hasn't attracted near the same attention.
In fact some people like the idea, noting that the comment was shared in the fullness of the column (Food for thought, February 23) and not controversially stated in a one-liner."
Ms McInnes might have succeeded in 'sowing a seed,' however, judging by some responses:
'Omg n it's goin to cost loads of taxpayers money ... plenty of other things urgently needed.'
'Wht may I ask needs doing urgently?'
'Getting tertiary education in our town that offers bachelor degrees etc? Costs an arm and a leg to get out of this town and make a career for yourself. Basically have to have full-time work to afford to move out of this town. If more training opportunities were offered here more youth would stay and use their skills and knowledge learnt to help build our town.'
' ... that is a brilliant idea. Tertiary education brings students from all over, therefore more money, more jobs in town, stops local families from having to break up ... lots of spin-offs. They do it all over the USA and has helped many smaller towns to survive.'
Ms McInnes acknowledged the passion and the depth of feeling expressed, particularly from within the 'real' Far North.
"That was not unexpected, but it's important to say that I love this district. It is my home," she said.
"I am passionate about looking after our place, so much so that I put myself forward to be in the public arena. I am driven to be part of the momentum that looks to build a district of prosperity, both for people and place, for now and future generations."