'Whairepo' name proposed for Wellington lagoon

  • Wellington

The New Zealand Geographic Board Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa (NZGB) is calling on New Zealanders – particularly Wellingtonians – to have their say on a new proposal to assign a Māori name to Wellington’s popular inner-city lagoon.

The Wellington City Council (WCC) and Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust (PNBST) joint proposal seeks to assign the name ‘Whairepo Lagoon’ to what is commonly called ‘Frank Kitts Lagoon’, ‘Frank Kitts Park Lagoon’ and ‘The Lagoon’.

“The NZGB considered the proposal at its 29 April 2015 meeting and, based on the supporting documentation and evidence provided, agreed to proceed to public consultation,” says NZGB Secretary Wendy Shaw.

“The NZGB took into account supporting letters from local groups – eg Waterfront Watch Inc, and the Inner City Residents Association – and the fact that the lagoon is not officially named.”

PNBST suggested the name, which was supported by WCC.  ‘Whairepo’ is the Māori name for the eagle ray that feed and shelter in the lagoon.  Mana whenua believe the eagle ray act as kaitiaki – guardians ensuring the safety of waka and people in and around the lagoon.

Public consultation will be open for three months, from 28 May-28 August.  Anyone can make a submission either in support of, or objecting to, these proposals.

Submissions can be made in writing to the Secretary for the New Zealand Geographic Board, via the online forms, or to nzgbsubmissions@linz.govt.nz.