Matthew Martin is a senior reporter at the Rotorua Daily Post

Council back-tracks on new name for City Focus

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The Rotorua Lakes Council has back-tracked on its announcement of a new name for the City Focus.  Photo/Ben Fraser
The Rotorua Lakes Council has back-tracked on its announcement of a new name for the City Focus. Photo/Ben Fraser

The Rotorua Lakes Council has back-tracked on its announcement of a new name for the City Focus.

In yesterday's Rotorua Daily Post the council confirmed it had changed the name to Manawa - which means "heart" in te reo Maori.

But, today, the council's chief executive Geoff Williams said councillors had yet to make the final decision on the official re-naming of the former City Focus area.

This was after the council had produced a full colour brochure announcing Manawa was to be the new name for the former City Focus and why the name was chosen.

Manawa had been put forward as a new name for the public space which is being revamped as part of the council's inner city revitalisation work.

"The need for a new name to reflect the changes taking place in this space was mentioned a few times during Rotorua Lakes Council meetings and staff consulted with stakeholders regarding a suitable alternative," Mr Williams said.

"They worked with Ngati Whakaue, as mana whenua, who put forward Manawa. However, there was then a miscommunication in terms of socialising this through the portfolio and in this case, enthusiasm has gotten ahead of the process that should have been followed.

"We still need to put this to the mayor and councillors - it needs to go before them to make a final decision and I expect that to happen within the next few months."

Mr Williams says he has today apologised to the mayor and councillors, on behalf of the organisation, and has assured them the official re-naming will go before council for a final decision.

At the moment there is work happening on the site to remove some pillars, re-clad others and make other preparations before the final, major stage of work occurs to redevelop the area.

"There has, since work on refreshing our inner city began, been extensive consultation on many aspects of work occurring in the inner city and collaboration with businesses, retailers and the inner city steering group," Mr Williams said.

Inner city businesses and retailers were visited and informed of the work and have received pamphlets providing detail about the project.

The current work will take about two months and will include establishing a drop-off zone outside The Quest on Hinemoa St, which will see eight carparks created.

"We are mindful of keeping any impact on inner city businesses to a minimum and the final phase of the project has been deferred until next year," Mr Williams said.

"That work is being re-tendered and there will be consultation with our inner city stakeholders regarding the exact timing."

- Rotorua Daily Post

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