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Source: Auckland Council

The unveiling of new signs in a west Auckland park mark a major milestone in a programme designed to celebrate te reo Māori and share the stories of Tāmaki Makaurau’s rich Māori history.

Crum Park in Titirangi now carries the dual name of Tahurangi/Crum Park and is the first local park to have signs in both te reo Māori and English. An interpretive sign featuring the story behind the name, as provided by mana whenua, was revealed today.   

The sign also features a QR Code that people can scan with their phone to hear the correct pronunciation of Tahurangi.  

Earlier this year, Whau Local Board adopted dual names for 23 parks in its area, the additional names provided by mana whenua. The board also decided to create the first fully bilingual park at Tahurangi/Crum Park.

The board is one of 15 Auckland Council local boards involved in the naming component of the Te Kete Rukuruku programme – a culture and identity programme to collect and share the stories unique to Māori in Auckland.

“This is such a special day, and our local board is honoured by the names and stories Te Kawerau a Maki and mana whenua have shared with us and our community,” says Whau Local Board chairperson Kay Thomas.

“This is something, that in my opinion, is long overdue and is vitally important. By having these stories and te reo Māori visible and commonplace in our parks – people will become more comfortable with the language and learn more about the history of the area. It will be the norm rather than the exception.”

She adds people don’t need to be concerned about the name of the park they know being taken away.

“People have a real connection to their parks so that is why the parks will hold dual names – nothing is being taken away.” 

The new dual names at the 22 other parks in the local board area are now visible on the Auckland Council website and signs will be updated only when they are scheduled to be renewed.

“Being here and seeing the story of Tahurangi and te reo Māori throughout the park is such a special feeling and I am really proud that a park in my ward is the first to feature the bilingual signs,” says Whau Ward Councillor Tracy Mulholland.

“This is just the start as over time more parks throughout this and other local board areas across Auckland will start to feature more te reo Māori and have dual names applied – which is really exciting.”

Names in landscape like survey pegs of memories

For mana whenua the sharing of stories continues a tradition dating back centuries. 

“In pre-literate Māori culture, there was a huge dependence on memory so sharing stories and history was a regular occurrence between generations,” says Robin Taua-Gordon of Te Kawerau a Maki.

“The names in the landscape were like survey pegs, marking the events that happened in a particular place, recording some aspect or feature of the traditions and history of a tribe. The daily use of such place names meant that the history was always present, always available.”

She says the naming of Tahurangi/Crum Park is a modern-day example of this and will ensure that the narratives of the past are not lost.

“Te Kawerau a Maki congratulate the Whau Local Board on recognising the importance of te reo Māori and taking this opportunity to celebrate the rich cultural history of the area.”

Te reo Māori is seen, heard, learnt and spoken

“At the heart of our programme is that te reo Māori is seen, heard, learnt, and spoken as part of everyday life and the bilingual signs are a simple yet highly visible example of that,” says Te Kete Rukuruku programme manager for Auckland Council, Anahera Higgins.

But she says it not just about signs; this is a long-term vision to resurface the unique iwi identity, develop our unique Māori identity and preserve these treasured narratives for future generations.

“One of the things I am extremely grateful for is that this is a programme led by mana whenua in partnership with Auckland Council, and which has been critical as we navigated our way through this important mahi.

Places throughout Aotearoa had names that existed before Pākehā arrived and the programme acknowledges that reality.

The other 15 local boards are at various stages of having reo Māori names identified by mana whenua and those names, along with some of the stories connected to the parks, will be made public in the near future.


The story of Tahurangi

The name of this park, Tahurangi, acknowledges the first inhabitants of Hikurangi, west Auckland, prior to human settlement. Tahurangi, otherwise known by the iwi of Te Kawerau a Maki as tūrehu or patupaiarehe, were mysterious, magical creatures who lived in the deep forests and the high mountain tops.

Read the full story as provided by Robin Taua-Gordon of Te Kawerau a Maki.

About the Te Kete Rukuruku programme

In 2017 Auckland Council launched the Te Kete Rukuruku (TKR) project, a culture and identity programme to collect and share the stories unique to Māori in Auckland. The programme is led by iwi, in partnership with the council and its local boards.

One component of this is a naming project which will see iwi and hapu names restored. In some cases, these names existed prior to the current names or may reflect an historical activity of the area prior to European settlement.

Short narratives explaining the significance of the names are also provided by mana whenua and give meaning and connection to the place.

In doing this, it honours and showcases the names and the rich mana whenua stories of Auckland – some of which have been lost over many years.

The local boards currently participating in the naming part of the project are:

  • Albert-Eden Local Board
  • Devonport-Takapuna Local Board
  • Franklin Local Board
  • Henderson-Massey Local Board
  • Hibiscus and Bays Local Board
  • Kaipātiki Local Board
  • Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board
  • Manurewa Local Board
  • Maungakiekie-Tāmaki Local Board
  • Ōtara-Papatoetoe Local Board
  • Papakura Local Board
  • Puketāpapa Local Board
  • Whau Local Board
  • Waitākere Ranges Local Board
  • Waitematā Local Board.