Mount Maunganui's old Phoenix carpark will be named Te Papa O Ngā Manu Porotakataka when it is transformed into an "urban open space".

This morning Tauranga City Council voted 6-5 to adopt the name that three-quarters of people surveyed in a last-minute consultation process rejected, mostly because it was too long.

The council has spent $2.5 million redeveloping 55 parks in the old Phoenix carpark on Maunganui Rd into a new space due to be blessed on December 22.

On November 20 the council approved a name - Te Papa O Ngā Manu Porotakataka, meaning "the place of circling birds" - suggested by local hapu Ngāi Tukairangi and Ngāti Kuku, subject to community feedback.

Advertisement

The two-week consultation has come under fire from some Mount residents who felt it was rushed and the public should have been given a say far earlier in the process.

The results of an online survey of 1042 people were clear, with 285 people for the name and 757 against.

An artist's impression of the new 'open urban space' in place of the old Phoenix carpark. Image / supplied
An artist's impression of the new 'open urban space' in place of the old Phoenix carpark. Image / supplied

Mount Maunganui resident Trevor Clist gathered about 60 signatures from his neighbourhood opposing the "ridiculously long and unpronounceable" name.

"Something a bit more simple and easier to say might have been more acceptable."

The decision left him feeling "reluctant resignation".

He said the naming was indicative of the way the council had handled the whole development.

"They bulldozed it through, overriding the public opinion."

Mount Maunganui resident Trevor Clist is not a fan of the new name or the concrete look of the urban space created in place of the old Phoenix carpark. Photo / George Novak
Mount Maunganui resident Trevor Clist is not a fan of the new name or the concrete look of the urban space created in place of the old Phoenix carpark. Photo / George Novak

In the meeting elected officials tossed around ideas for shortening the official name, having two official names - one long, one short - complete with sketched signs or choosing a different name.

Advertisement

Carlo Ellis, the council's strategic Māori engagement manager, said tangata whenua preferred to have the name used in full to preserve the integrity of the language and ensure it did not lose meaning.

Councillor Leanne Brown voted against the name and proposed "Phoenix Park" instead, a name suggested by many submitters.

She said she loved the name Te Papa O Ngā Manu Porotakataka but "we're just not ready for it".

Councillor John Robson, who voted for the name, said the council had made collective errors in the naming process.

"But sometimes we need to make a decision and accept that we got it wrong but that the process of righting it would actually be more damaging and more demeaning."

City transformation manager Jaine Lovell-Gadd said that due to the time constraints and having no budget set aside for the consultation, an online survey was deemed the most cost and time effective way to gather the views of Mount retailers and residents.


How they voted

For: Terry Molloy, John Robson, Larry Baldock, Max Mason, Kelvin Clout, Rick Curach.
Against: Greg Brownless, Steve Morris, Bill Grainger, Leanne Brown, Catherine Stewart.