Rawle Gully Geographic Name Proposal Report

This report was Considered by the NZGB on 29 April 2011. A PDF version is also available: Rawle Gully Geographic Name Proposal Report (PDF 327KB).

  • Spelling alteration from Raules Gully
  • Mount Peel, Rangitata River, west of Ashburton

General Background

The Proposal

The proposer is seeking to have the spelling corrected from Raules Gully to Rawle Gully for a gorge that follows a creek flowing eastwards into the Rangitata River. The proposer provides supporting evidence that this feature was named after James Rawle, who was the shepherd-in-charge of the first sheep runs established by Acland and Tripp in the Mount Peel area in 1859. The proposer’s research records that James Rawle
came to New Zealand from Acland’s father’s property in England, and was the pioneering shepherd responsible for establishing the first sheep flocks in the area. While the proposer has filled out a proposal form for a geographic feature, the covering letter refers to the Crown protected area name, Raules Gully Scenic Reserve, and also quotes from the NZGB Interim Standard for Crown Protected Area Names (NZGB60001).
Therefore it remains unclear whether the proposer seeks to alter the geographic feature name or the CPA name or both.

NZGB Archive Records

The archives of the Board (Canterbury card index) record that Raules Gully is, ‘a stream flowing eastwards just north of Waikari Hills homestead into the Rangitata River’. The name Raules Gully has not been gazetted as official through the NZGB Act; however, it appears in the New Zealand Place Names Database (archived) as a recorded name, although the feature type is a ‘gorge’ not a ‘stream’.

Research

The proposer has provided documentary evidence of reference sources to verify the spelling of Rawle, in particular, Acland1 and Speight2. The 1859 diary of Acland3 also records the spelling as ‘Rawle’. There is no reference in Reed4 to Raules Gully. Rawle is not listed in the online Dictionary of New Zealand Biography5.

Searches of reference sources show no evidence of anyone by the name of Raule having an association with the Mount Peel district during the 19th century when European settlement took place.

Location/Extent of Feature

The gully is located within Raules Gully Scenic Reserve, which is a Crown protected area. Raules Gully Scenic Reserve is an official CPA name (NZ Gazette, 1984, p.4688). The proposer has not provided evidence of consultation with the Department of Conservation, therefore it is not known if DoC supports altering the spelling of the name of the Crown protected area or whether they would be prepared to submit a CPA
name alteration proposal. In the interests of consistency and standardisation and to eliminate confusion and ambiguity, it would be preferable if the geographic feature names (for gully and creek) and the CPA name are the same.

Generic Feature

The definition of a gully is, ‘a small but deep channel or ravine formed by fluvial erosion but not permanently occupied by a stream’6. The stream flowing through the gully is not named, and it may be preferable to name it, especially since it extends beyond the gorge. However, as a general rule, if a river is named, then the valley surrounding it does not necessarily need to be formally named – it’s a given that the names are
physically connected.

  1. Acland, L.G. (1946). The Early Canterbury Runs: Containing the First, Second and third (new) Series. Christchurch: Whitcombe & Tombs.
  2. Speight, R. (1940). The Rangitata Glacier – the Question of its Maximum Extension. Christchurch: Royal Society of N.Z.
  3. MacMillan Brown Library, University of Canterbury, “Acland’s Journey to Mt. Peel in 1859”. http://digitallibrary.canterbury.ac.nz/data/Library5 /archives/acland_diaries/mb_44_b2_1.pdf (accessed 13 January 2011).
  4. Reed, A.W. (2010). Place Names of New Zealand. North Shore: Penguin Group (N.Z.).
  5. Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, “Ratana to Rees”. http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/biographies/r?page=2 (accessed 2 March 2011).
  6. Whittow, J. (1984). The Penguin Dictionary of Physical Geography. Auckland: Penguin Books (N.Z.) Ltd.

Board Guidelines

The proposer has noted that the proposal is aligned to paragraphs 4.2(g) and 4.5(a) of the NZGB Interim Standard for Crown protected area names:
4.2(g) Names may be used to honour the memory of significant persons associated with the CPA. Where CPA names are used for posthumous commemoration:

(i) surnames are preferable,
(ii) naming will be limited to those persons who have made an outstanding or
fundamental contribution to conservation or cultural heritage matters, and
(iii) the person must have had a direct link with the area during their lifetime.

4.5 The NZGB will generally not accept a proposal for an official CPA name that:
(a) is misspelt.

Spelling Standards: “A name that has been in long term local usage may take precedence over any proposal to alter the spelling; however, subject to safety concerns, the Board may alter the spelling if the correct or original version is discovered.”

The possessive form and the possessive apostrophe: “No names considered by the Board will be approved in the possessive form unless the Board is persuaded that it is necessary.

On receipt of the proposal, the proposer was advised of the Board’s policy which discourages the use of the possessive form. The proposer asked that the proposal be amended to Rawle Gully as ‘it is not Rawle’s, it is merely named after him’.

Historical Maps/Plans

Cadastral and Topographic maps have shown the following through the years:

NZMS 1 S91 1943 1st Edition Raules Gully
NZMS 1 S91 1970 2nd Edition Raules Gully
NZMS 1 S91 1981 3rd Edition Raules Gully
NZMS 1 S91 1984 4th Edition Raules Gully
NZMS 13, CAN 87,88 Not dated Raules Gully
NZMS 177 S91 1972 2nd Edition Raules Gully

Early Survey Plans show the following:

SO 3797 Dated 1880 Raule’s Gully
SO 3791 Dated 1881 Raule’s Gully
SO 4941 Dated 1912 Raule’s Gully
SO 6381 Dated 1929 Not named
SO 6751 Dated 1934 Raule’s Gully
SO 11748 Dated 1972 Raule’s Gully

Historical Miscellaneous plans/records show:

C(D)42 Not dated Not named
C(D)2 Dated 1866 Not named
G183 Dated 1866 Not named
C(D)3 Dated 1870 Not named

Duplication

There are no other geographical features with the name ‘Raule’ or ‘Rawle’; however, Rawles Crossing Road and Rawle Crossing Road North are located adjacent to the town of Ashburton approximately 35 km east of the gully.

Consultation

The proposer has not provided documentary evidence of consultation with the Department of Conservation or any others who might have an interest in this name proposal. Presumably the public have an interest in this area because of its protected conservation status.

The Ngāi Tahu Board member may provide information on a possible original Māori name for this gully feature or the stream.

Emergency Services

With the exception of dropping the possessive, there is little phonological distinction between the current name and the proposed name, therefore changing Raules Gully to Rawle Gully is unlikely to cause confusion for emergency services.

Conclusion:

  • The proposer has provided documentary evidence that the feature was named after James Rawle who was the pioneering shepherd responsible for establishing the first sheep flocks in the area.
  • There is no evidence of anyone by the name of Raule having an association with the Mount Peel district during the 19th century when European settlement took place.
  • The gully is located within Raules Gully Scenic Reserve, which is an official CPA name. It is not known if the proposer has approached DoC to alter the spelling of the name of the Crown protected area.
  • An alteration to the spelling of the name should not impact on emergency services.
  • Consideration should be given to naming the stream flowing through the gully.

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