Public consultation on changing the name of Maxwell to Pākaraka is under way.
Whanganui District Council is supporting Ngāti Maika hapū of Ngā Rauru Kītahi iwi to undertake consultation on changing the name of Maxwell to Pākaraka.
The consultation will inform its application to the New Zealand Geographic Board to change the name of the locality north of Whanganui.
The Ngā Rauru Deed of Settlement, signed with the Crown in 2003, encourages conversations between Ngāti Maika and the council on this matter and in May 2020 they approached the council to seek support to go through the New Zealand Geographic Board renaming process.
In August this year, the council made a formal decision to support Ngāti Maika to make this application and also to carry out the required community consultation.
"The views of those associated with Maxwell are being sought and letters have been sent to Maxwell property owners inviting them to have their say," Whanganui District Council's corporate group manager Stephanie Macdonald-Rose said.
"Anyone with an interest in Maxwell can make a submission via the Whanganui District Council website, or by mail."
The name Pākaraka was decided by the tūpuna of Ngāti Maika during hui over the years and it has positive associations.
Several blocks of land in the area have the name Pākaraka Block in their land titles, which recognises the historical reference to the karaka tree which was abundant in the landscape.
The old pā site was also surrounded by karaka trees so when it was shifted to its current location, the name Pākaraka was maintained.
The marae is a community hub for the Maxwell locality; all significant decisions for the whole of Ngāti Maika hapū are made at Pākaraka.
Macdonald-Rose said associations with the name Maxwell have been a grievance carried for generations and are a reminder of historical pain, in particular the attack on Māori children in 1868 in what is known as the Handley Woolshed incident.
"The Ngā Rauru Deed of Settlement recognised the Handley Woolshed incident and encouraged discussions between Whanganui District Council and the Ngā Rauru Iwi Authority or the Governance Entity in relation to the name of the town of Maxwell."
The consultation will close on Monday, 21 December at 5pm. Have Your Say Online: You can complete this submission online at whanganui.govt.nz/haveyoursay
Alternatively, send your written submission to Renaming of Maxwell to Pākaraka, Te Kaahui o Rauru, Whanganui District Council, 101 Guyton Street, Whanganui 4500. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org