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Calliope Crescent officially changed to Matahourua Crescent

Matahourua street name blessing

Representatives from Ngāti Toa, Porirua City Council, elected members and a number of residents from Matahourua Crescent at the unveiling of the new street name.

Porirua’s Calliope Crescent has officially changed to Matahourua Crescent.

The name change of the street, in Cannons Creek, became official at a ceremony on Wednesday (18 May).

Calliope is considered culturally offensive to mana whenua Ngāti Toa because of the history of the vessel it is named after.

Calliope was a 26-gun frigate that held Te Rauparaha captive on board following his arrest in 1846 by Governor Grey. Te Rauparaha was a paramount chief of Ngāti Toa and was instrumental in the journey of the iwi from Kawhia in the 1820s to Porirua in search of a more secure and prosperous life.

The proposal to change the name of Calliope Crescent was first put to Council during Māori Language Week in 2021, after which there were ongoing discussions with Ngāti Toa about the change.

Matahourua, gifted by Ngāti Toa, was the name of the vessel which brought Kupe to Aotearoa. Kupe was the first Polynesian to discover Aotearoa.

To mark the street name change, a small blessing ceremony took place on Wednesday with representatives from Ngāti Toa, Porirua City Council, elected members and a number of residents from Matahourua Crescent.

“It’s in keeping with where the road is situated, surrounded by a myriad of nationalities, particularly by people that come from the Pacific,” said Ngāti Toa kaumatua Dr Taku Parai.

“We decided that Matahourua reflects the people of the isles, the ocean, the discovery, Kupe coming from the Pacific, and we thought the naming of the street after his vessel was appropriate.”

Porirua Mayor Anita Baker thanked everyone who worked to make this happen and says that the new name is more representative of the diverse community in Porirua.

“I’m especially grateful to Ngāti Toa for gifting us the name, and I’m heartened that this name change will reflect and respect the heritage of our community here,” she said.

18 May 2022