Rotorua Lakes Council has back-tracked on its announcement of a new name for the City Focus with some councillors saying the process has been a complete embarrassment.

In yesterday's Rotorua Daily Post the council confirmed it had changed the name to Manawa - which means "heart" in te reo Maori. However two councillors we spoke to had no idea the name had been changed.

Yesterday the council issued a media release in which chief executive Geoff Williams said councillors were yet to make a final decision on the official re-naming of the area and apologised to the mayor and councillors.

This was after the council had produced a full colour brochure announcing Manawa was to be the new name for the former City Focus and why the name was chosen.


"The proper process wasn't followed and we are going to rectify this. The final decision will be up to the council," Mr Williams said in the release.

The Rotorua Daily Post asked the council why the brochures been produced and how much they cost.

The council did not answer those questions, but said the process was carried out within the Inner City portfolio, that had its own budget.

"The need for a new name to reflect the changes taking place in this space was mentioned a few times during council meetings and staff consulted with stakeholders regarding a suitable alternative," Mr Williams said.

"They worked with Ngati Whakaue, as mana whenua, who put forward Manawa. However, there was then a miscommunication in terms of socialising this through the portfolio and in this case enthusiasm has gotten ahead of the process that should have been followed.

"We still need to put this to the mayor and councillors - it needs to go before them to make a final decision and I expect that to happen within the next few months."

Mr Williams said he had apologised to the mayor and councillors on behalf of the organisation.

But, councillor Charles Sturt said someone had made a big mistake.

"That decision had to come back to us as councillors. It's a complete embarrassment because we didn't know anything about it," he said.

Councillor Glenys Searancke said she had been approached by at least five people yesterday "asking me what the hell is going on".

"I would call it a very embarrassing situation to be in as a councillor. We are not being communicated with and I blame the portfolios - they are not working.

"We don't get any minutes from portfolio meetings and I don't believe they have the right to make decisions on our behalf."

Mrs Searancke said she appreciated the apology, but communication problems had to be sorted out.

Mayor Steve Chadwick agreed the name change should have been decided on by the council and said there were no problems with the portfolio system.

"Geoff [Williams] has taken responsibility for this issue and it must come before council. Process must be followed and that's what I expect.

"I thought it was a bit premature. I think someone got excited, and that's not good."

Mrs Chadwick said the feedback she had received about the proposed name was mostly positive.

"People were quite excited by the concept, and the name, so let's get the process back on track."