Wellington's deputy mayor wants the incoming council schooled on race relations.

This is after Jill Day accused councillor Simon Woolf of being racist over his reaction to the gift of a te reo Māori name for the city's Botanic Garden.

Day has since requested training around Te Tiriti o Waitangi to be included in the new council's induction programme.

The stoush between the pair erupted after councillors were invited to an event acknowledging the gifting of the name Paekākā to the city by mana whenua.

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Woolf said in an email he backed the council's te reo Māori policy but was concerned about the lack of transparency and consultation for the new name.

"There is a large segment of our community who for one reason or another (and believe it or not, most isn't race related) do not wish to see an unreasonable use of te reo seen in places where there may not be significance.

"This is equally important to some of our community, where the history of a place or area maybe altered by creating or, even adding a te reo name."

Day replied to Woolf saying his comments could not be "interpreted in any other way" than as racist.

"The last time I checked, there were many names across Aotearoa which were actively removed through the process of colonisation, no consultation, just removed."

Woolf told the Herald he regretted what was said in the exchange and supported the training planned for the incoming council.

Councillor Simon Woolf was accused of being racist over his reaction to the gift of a te reo name for the city's Botanic Garden. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Councillor Simon Woolf was accused of being racist over his reaction to the gift of a te reo name for the city's Botanic Garden. Photo / Mark Mitchell

The emails were flying back and forward at the same time the Government announced New Zealand history would be taught in all schools and kura by 2022.

Day said just because councillors may have missed out on those lessons during their school education shouldn't mean they had to miss out altogether.

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She hoped new Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon would be available to lead the training.

The comments made in the emails came from a position of not understanding and were not isolated, she said.

"I'm not going to name individual councillors, that would just add fuel to the fire."

Day said every time the council came to sign off on a new name several councillors have tried to question the process.

"It's just become another way of trying to stymie or to slow our progress.

"When it comes to the doing, that's when we come unstuck and so it is frustrating and I feel quite disappointed that the same conversation can go around in circles."

It was a fundamental issue of some people believing there was a time and a place for te reo Māori, she said.

Mayoral candidate Diane Calvert said she supported councillors being provided more information to improve their knowledge of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

But she said the email exchange was blown out of proportion and felt the term "racist" was an easy one to "throw around".

Candidate Andy Foster also supported sessions on treaty relationships but said it was part of councillors' governance responsibility to ask questions of process.

Justin Lester, who's seeking a second term as mayor, said the training would be important for councillors' understanding of what it means to live and govern in a multicultural city.