Wellington City Council wants to include Maori names for city wards.The council reviews its electoral arrangements every six years as part of its obligations under the Local Electoral Act and one of the proposed changes is to add Maori names to wards, making them bilingual. It wouldn't involve adding Maori wards or more community boards.
The council has consulted iwi for appropriate te reo names drawn from Wellington's history, and recognising a prominent feature in that ward.
The added names would be Pukehinau for Lambton ward, Motukairangi for Eastern ward, Paekawakawa for Southern ward, Wharangi for Onslow-Western ward and Takapu for Northern ward.
Mayor Justin Lester said Wellington was "a liberal place" and he expected most people would be on board with it.
"Different generations will have different views on this.
"But we live in a bilingual country, Maori is an official language, as is sign language.
"Bringing in another option doesn't mean English will die."
Deputy Mayor Jill Day said the proposal for bilingual names was the most exciting change on the cards this year.
"Te reo is the foundation of Maori culture and identity. It is beautiful and it's ours - it's official.
"This naming opportunity will not come again for another six years. So, we took hold of it and we want Wellington to take hold of these names too.
"Wellington is ready to recognise its te reo history and bring these special names back to the future so our mokopuna can grow up with them, and with te reo."
Other proposals include five changes to ward boundaries, and keeping the community boards.
Day said the boundary adjustment was particularly needed for the Southern Ward, because of differences in population and representation.
"Each seat should represent a similar number of people.
"Our proposal leaves a couple of wards outside the Act's rules for fair representation, but it was not possible to be completely compliant because of our desire to protect communities of interest.
"It is a sensible proposal which fixes what it can."
Consultation on the changes will close on May 4, and the council will make a decision at its May 30 meeting.
Hamilton's Mayor Andrew King recently suggested renaming the city council Kirikiriroa City Council, but withdrew the suggestion after widespread public opposition.