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Culturally offensive park name changed

Calliope Park

Calliope Park in Cannons Creek is to be renamed Matahourua Park, in line with the recent renaming of Calliope Crescent.

The recommendation to proceed with the renaming was made unanimously at a meeting of Council’s Te Puna Kōrero Committee today.

Ngāti Toa requested the name Calliope be changed because it is culturally offensive to mana whenua. It gifted Council the name Matahourua, as a more fitting name to reflect the heritage and the history of the people living in Porirua.

Calliope Crescent was officially renamed Matahourua Crescent in April. Changing a park name follows a different process, with wider consultation, so this followed soon after.

Twelve submissions were received, five in support and seven against.

Chief Executive Wendy Walker said that some submitters suggested alternative names for the park, and that these would be kept as options to consider when other new things are named around the city.

She said name changes were not made lightly, and that Ngāti Toa had advised that Calliope was their top priority for change.

Why is Calliope culturally offensive?

Calliope was a 26-gun frigate that held Te Rauparaha captive on board following his arrest in 1846 by Governor Grey. Te Rauparaha, Ngāti Toa’s paramount chief, was instrumental in the journey of the iwi from Kawhia in the 1820s to Porirua in search of a more secure and prosperous life. He was interred without charge on the Calliope for 18–24 months.

Due to this historic relationship, the name Calliope, currently used for the park, is not respectful to Ngāti Toa.

Why Matahourua?

Matahourua is the name of Kupe’s ocean-going, twin-hulled waka that he used when he discovered Aotearoa.

It is said that it was Kupe’s wife Kurumarotini who saw a large land mass shrouded in cloud and called “He Ao! He Aotea! He Aotearoa!” (“A cloud! A long white cloud!”), and the land became known as Aotearoa, the land of the long white cloud.

18 Aug 2022