Poverty Bay's name is richer with the inclusion of te reo in the new name of Tūranganui-a-Kiwa/Poverty Bay, Minister for Land Information Eugenie Sage says in announcing the adoption of the dual name today.

Tūranganui-a-Kiwa/Poverty Bay applies only to the bay enclosed by Young Nick's Head (Te Kuri) and Tuaheni Point, in accordance with the original request by Gisborne District Council.

It does not apply to the wider landscape and region often referred to as Poverty Bay, nor to Gisborne, or any other area.

The name Tūranganui-a-Kiwa can be translated as the great (or long) standing place of Kiwa.


"It is clear to me that both names carry significant meaning for the community," Sage said.

"On one hand the restoration of the traditional Maori name Tūranganui-a-Kiwa for the bay is long overdue for local iwi, given the importance of their tupuna or ancestor.

"At the same time there is significant heritage value associated with the name Poverty Bay being given by Captain James Cook and recognising his first landing in New Zealand, as well as use of the name by local people."

The Minister's decision followed a proposal for a dual name from Gisborne District Council to the New Zealand Geographic Board/Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa in March 2018.

"In making my decision I considered that Gisborne District Council's proposal followed several years of discussion and debate within the community.

"Further to this, the board consulted for three months and received 609 submissions."

Maps, navigation charts and other resources would now be updated to reflect the change.

Gisborne Mayor Meng Foon welcomed the announcement and thanked all those involved.


"Especially the students of Puhi Kaiti School for their vision and leadership after their hikoi to the council a couple of years back.

"The acknowledgement of Tūranganui-a-Kiwa is significant to our whakapapa and history.

"We as the council are pleased to carry out their wishes and the wishes of the iwi that have whakapapa to Te Moananui a Kiwa," said Mr Foon.

"Our community have had good robust debate and all our histories are acknowledged.

"I know iwi would just like Tūranganui-a-Kiwa only, as this was the first name that was given after their tipuna Kiwa. Our communities have had the opportunities to make submissions to the council, to the national geographic board and the decision from Minister Sage is welcomed."

Gisborne councillor Malcolm MacLean had previously noted his opposition to a dual name for the bay but said it was now time to move forward.


"The powers that be agreed to the name change, so that is that and we just move on."

The official geographic naming took effect on February 15.

The new name for Poverty Bay took effect officially from February 15.
The new name for Poverty Bay took effect officially from February 15.

Sage had planned to make the announcement while in Gisborne on Saturday but "logistical issues" meant that did not happen.

The Gisborne Herald understands that was because local iwi disagreed on where the appropriate place was to make the public announcement.

Of the 609 submissions received by the New Zealand Geographic Board/Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa, 155 clearly supported the dual name, 141 supported the existing name Poverty Bay and 143 supported Tūranganui-a-Kiwa.

A small number proposed alternative names or were neutral, and the remainder of the submissions supported the name Tūranganui-a-Kiwa but were unclear on whether they preferred a dual or single name.


Further information supplied with a media statement from Minister of Land Information Eugenie Sage on the dual name announcement stated there were a number of differing accounts about the significance of the name Tūranganui-a-Kiwa.

In its proposal to the board, Gisborne District Council submitted that the history of the rohe (district) was tied to the arrival of seafaring navigators.

"For Tūranga and adjacent iwi, whakapapa connections can be made to Pāoa and Kiwa — the commander and navigator aboard the Horouta canoe.

"On reaching the East Coast, the Horouta canoe beached in what is mapped as the Gisborne Harbour. Here, Kiwa as priest (according to custom) was the first to land, and he claimed the land by planting Mauri. In this declaration of ownership he named the place 'Tūranganui-a-Kiwa' or 'The great standing place of Kiwa'. This was near what was later named the Tūranganui River.

"The events which brought Horouta to Aotearoa are still recalled today by tangata whenua (people of the land) when they waiata (sing) the ancient patere (chant) 'Haramai a Pāoa'."