What's in a name? When it comes to the new central library, it is $14,650.

The Christchurch city council spent that much hiring an external creative agency to come up with a name for the library being built on the corner of Gloucester St and Cathedral Square.

It hired Plato Creative earlier this year to determine a suitable way to name the facility, and to come up with an English descriptor. It cost $14,650.

It recommended the English descriptor be A Place of Discovery, which would be used mostly for communications and marketing.


City councillors on Thursday decided to call the library Tūranga, the name gifted by Matapopore Charitable Trust and Ngāi Tūāhuriri.

While most city councillors were happy with the Maori name, they did not seem fussed with the English descriptor that Plato Creative came up with.

They decided to officially call the library Tūranga, and have further discussion about the English descriptor and how it would be used at a later date.

Plato Creative did desk research to see examples of names and "brand identity" for libraries here and overseas.

It then did ethnographic research, by asking people questions on the role of libraries today, how people used them, and how they could be made more relevant.

The feedback was used to identify issues and do a gap analysis.

It then decided the facility should have an official Maori name, and an English descriptor, that would be used primarily for marketing and communications.

It came up with A Place of Discovery, which is meant to covey the concept of the 21st century library.

City councillor Yani Johanson said he wanted to move to call it Christchurch Public Library - Tūranga, but received no support.

"I can't accept that we're going to build a public library in the city, that doesn't have library on the outside of it."

City councillor Jamie Gough said he wanted to get on with approving the Maori name.

"Every now and then I think we have a tendency to overcomplicate simple things and I think this is a good example of that because I think it looks pretty good.

"Some people will call it the library, some people will call it Tūranga and that's great, no one's going to be wandering around backwards because they don't know where the library is. I just think we get on with it, there's more important things on the agenda isn't there?"

Tūranga reflects the relationship with Whitireia, which is the traditional name for Cathedral Square. Whitireia was the name of the house of Paikea, the ancestor who travelled on the back of a whale.

The $92 million project is due to be complete halfway through next year.