A report commissioned by Hamilton City Council and Waikato-Tainui examines the background of the naming of the city and some of its streets.
Reporter TOM ROWLAND looks at what the report says and asks some other councils how they decide road names.
The removal of the Captain Hamilton statue from the city's civic square last month reignited the debate around Hamilton's street names and whether the city itself should be renamed to its Māori name Kirikiriroa.
The removal of the statue was met with mixed reactions from the wider community, but Hamilton City Council has said it is committed to working collaboratively with Waikato-Tainui on reviewing culturally sensitive place names and sites.
Hamilton street names such as Grey, von Tempsky and Bryce are familiar to most Hamiltonians, but city mayor Paula Southgate said that it is time for the community to be better informed about where these names came from.
A $10,000 report by New Zealand author and historian Vincent O'Malley was commissioned by the previous city council led by former mayor Andrew King in September last year.
King had previously tried to start the debate around renaming Hamilton to Kirikiriroa, but the idea was shot down early on.
The O'Malley Report - released last Friday - was jointly funded by Waikato-Tainui, who have been working with Hamilton City Council for the past 12 months on the review.
O'Malley said the report does not take any view on the merits of street names but briefly examines the historical evidence concerning the naming of some streets and the settlement of Hamilton, before providing historical portraits of the individuals after whom some streets are named, including Gustavus Ferdinand von Tempsky, John Bryce, Sir George Grey, and Captain John Fane Charles Hamilton.
"The O'Malley Report aims to provide a common, factual understanding of Hamilton's history.
"Unless we have that understanding as a community, we cannot have the kind of conversations we need to have to move forward in a constructive way," Southgate said.
"Personally, I have learned some things reading the report and I suspect many others will too.
"It wasn't always a comfortable read but it means we can have dialogue that is better informed and surely that is a positive thing."
Waikato-Tainui chair Rukumoana Schaafhausen said Waikato-Tainui had always advocated for a clearer view of the history of Kirikiriroa because of the intergenerational trauma inflicted on its people and landscape.
"This is an opportunity to reflect on how we might recognise a much more accurate view of our historical journey. Waikato-Tainui is looking forward to the courageous discussion ahead.
"This is not about cleansing the colonial footprint from our traditional boundaries but recognising that history in other more appropriate contexts."
The report makes no recommendation on Hamilton street names or other issues. It is a summary of historical information, brought together in one place.
The council and other stakeholders are now discussing what the process will be going forward to encourage a wider, city conversation about cultural issues, with the future of the Captain Hamilton statue also to be decided later in the year.
Waipā District Council told Waikato News it is currently working on a draft naming policy which aims to have selected names that are Waipā-centric.
The council said: "The proposed draft policy aims to have a means of selecting names for streets, roads, reserves, etc, that are Waipā-centric and this includes renaming or dual-naming where appropriate.
"Waipā has a strong desire to better reflect the culture and heritage of Waipā, acknowledging the land of Waipā and those from all communities who have been connected with Waipā over time."
Waikato District Council said it had a road naming policy that the council is satisfied with, however it is due for its periodic review.
The council said under the current policy equal weighting is given to both history and culture.
"History – the name of a historical family, event, industry or activity associated with the area. Such names may include early settlers and early notable families.
"The family name of the former owner of a farm or property or the name of the farm or property may be used if a historical context is established. Permission of surviving relatives should be obtained where appropriate."
Culture is significance to Māori or culture other than Māori. This includes the name of a Māori heritage precinct, site or track or traditional appropriate name for the area.
All Māori names are to be submitted to council's iwi and community partnership manager to ensure that they are appropriate; spelt correctly, interpreted correctly and are not offensive to Māori. Joint non-Māori/Māori names will not generally be considered."
• The full report can be read online Here.
THE MEN BEHIND THE NAMES
O'Malley was commissioned by Hamilton City Council and Waikato-Tainui to allow the mayor and council members to consider proposals with regard to the renaming of Hamilton to Kirikiriroa and for Von Tempsky, Bryce and Grey streets to also be renamed.
The report does not discuss the renaming proposal, but examines the historical evidence concerning the naming of these streets and Hamilton, before providing a historical background of the individuals, Gustavus Ferdinand von Tempsky, John Bryce, Sir George Grey and Captain John Fane Charles Hamilton.
The following are excerpts from the report:
• Captain John Hamilton
The military settlement of Hamilton, established in August 1864 on the site of a Māori kainga known as Kirikiriroa, was named in honour of Captain John Fane Charles Hamilton, who was killed during the battle of Pukehinahina (Gate Pā) on April 29 of that year.
He never set foot in Kirikiriroa during the Māori Land Wars.
Evidence for this naming comes from an 1870 farewell dinner to Lieutenant Colonel William Moule. Moule told the gathering that: "It is now more than six years since he cleared a spot 'mid the brown fern at Kirikiriroa, upon which to pitch his tent.
"He had the honour of naming the settlement after the late Captain Hamilton, of H.M.S. Esk, who died while gallantly fighting for his country and the colonists of New Zealand, at the Gate Pa."
On April 29, 1864, the British entered the pā with ease, encountering minimal resistance. Suddenly, a tremendous but invisible fire was let loose upon them.
The Gate Pā defenders were firing from concealed positions beneath the feet of the storming party, inflicting significant casualties.
Panicked survivors turned and attempted to flee but were soon mixed up with further reinforcements sent forward by Cameron.
Matters quickly became chaotic. In all, over one-third of the storming party ended up as casualties. Among the dead was Captain John Hamilton.
Captain John Hamilton is a minor figure in New Zealand history – to the extent that he does not appear in either major New Zealand biographical dictionary (one edited by G.H. Scholefield in 1940 and another multi-volume work published in the 1990s) and he is chiefly remembered today for the city named after him.
He was one of more than 18,000 British officers and men who served in the New Zealand Wars of 1845-72.
• Sir George Grey
In 1845 Grey was appointed governor of New Zealand, arriving in Auckland in November of that year to take up the position.
At the time of his arrival, the colony was in a state of financial crisis, war had broken out in the north of the country and unresolved tensions in central New Zealand stemming from disputes over New Zealand Company land purchases were threatening to also spill over into open conflict.
Grey was provided with substantially more military and financial resources than his predecessor, Robert FitzRoy, and immediately set out to impose Crown authority over Māori. The new governor's first objective was to bring the Northern War to a rapid and decisive end.
Sir George Grey was a dominant and domineering figure in New Zealand history. A 'brilliant and effective servant of British imperialism', Grey was also frequently ruthless, manipulative and deceitful. Long remembered (by Pākehā at least) as 'Good Governor Grey', his reputation has undergone something of a battering in recent decades as his role in ordering the invasion of Waikato, among other actions, have been subjected to more critical investigation and analysis.
• Gustavus Ferdinand von Tempsky
Gustavus Ferdinand von Tempsky was born in East Prussia on February 15, 1828.
He came from a prominent military family and attended cadet school in Berlin. Von Tempsky was made captain of the company of forest rangers in New Zealand.
His company took part in several skirmishes and battles against the Māori during the Māori Land Wars, including an attack on residents of Rangiaowhia who were women, children and elderly men, sent there in the belief that the British forces would respect its status as a place of safety and sanctuary for non-combatants.
He was killed in 1868 by Titokowaru's party. Von Tempsky had achieved almost folk hero status among many Pākehā during his short time in New Zealand and his death was widely mourned.
Although he remains a romantic figure for some, in recent times his reputation has undergone closer examination and critique.
• John Bryce
John Bryce was a former Member of Parliament, Minister for Native Affairs, farmer and veteran of the New Zealand War.
He was selected as a member of the The Kai Iwi Cavalry, a volunteer cavalry unit which soon developed a reputation for ill-discipline.
Bryce was appointed Native Minister in 1879 and quickly signalled his intention to respond in uncompromising fashion, passing legislation that provided for the Māori prisoners to be imprisoned without trial.
As Native Minister, Bryce did attempt some reform of legislation governing Māori land purchases and was said to have detested fraudulent land dealings and speculation by 'land-sharks'.
But he also described it as an 'absurdity' for Māori to believe they should manage their own affairs and 'utterly impractical' for them to think they should play a greater role in deciding on ownership of their lands.