Tauranga City Council will look into recommendations regarding changes to historic street names.

Yesterday, the council's Policy Committee agreed to explore a series of recommended changes to the 2009 Naming of Streets, Reserves and Community Facilities Policy, according to a written statement from the council.

Changes to the policy will be presented to the committee for review prior to community consultation later this year.

A review of the current policy would confirm it applies to all spaces under the council's jurisdiction and seeks to better reflect Tauranga's history, identity, culture, environment and encourage more locally significant Māori names.

While the current policy includes a principle that the council is committed to recognising significance to Māori, a past review noted this does not necessarily result in locally relevant Māori names. In the example of Kōwhai St, kōwhai can mean yellow or the native tree but this name may still not be significant to a particular place.

Instead, a resolution made yesterday demonstrated the committee's support for Māori names that have significance to Tauranga's own iwi and hapū.

Policy Committee chairman Steve Morris said committee members felt it was important Tauranga's Māori history and identity is made more visible.

Morris emphasised that if dual naming was introduced it would mean some reserves and streets may have two names - one English name and one Māori name that has local significance.

"I acknowledge that some in our community may feel upset by suggesting a new approach; however, I would encourage them that we have nothing to fear, but much to gain by continuing our journey to becoming a more inclusive community that understands and respects our shared heritage in this land."


The gifting of specially considered Māori names also reflects the Maori community would like to share their long and rich history of the area.

The practice of dual naming is common in other parts of New Zealand. A copy of the full report can be found on council's website.

The Policy Committee will be asked to adopt a draft policy for consultation at its July 2019 meeting.

The policy amendments incorporated feedback from the Mana Whenua o Tauranga Moana Partnership Group that would also be invited to comment on the specific policy wording.