Offensive place names closer to removal

21 April 2016

Proposals to replace two offensive unofficial North Canterbury place names will be decided by Land Information Minister Louise Upston, with a third proposal to be opened for public consultation next month.

The New Zealand Geographic Board Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa (NZGB) will ask Minister Upston to decide whether the place names ‘Niggerhead’ and ‘Nigger Hill’ should be replaced with the official names, ‘Tawhai Hill’ and ‘Kānuka Hills’ respectively.

“The NZGB received 223 submissions on these two proposals – 162 in support of the proposed new names, and 61 objecting, said NZGB Secretary Wendy Shaw.

“Because the NZGB didn’t agree with all of the objecting submissions, the decision on whether to assign these names now falls to Minister Upston to make.”

Submissions received were: ‘Kānuka Hills’ (83 supporting and 30 objecting); ‘Tawhai Hill’ (79 supporting and 31 objecting); and ‘Steelhead Stream’ (76 supporting and 37 objecting).

Several submissions objecting to the ‘Steelhead Stream’ proposal pointed out that the trout in the stream are not sea-running ‘Steelhead’ trout – meaning one of the NZGB’s original reasons for proceeding with this proposed name isn’t valid.

Various submitters suggested alternative names and the NZGB is looking into publicly consulting on a more appropriate name in late May.

Consultation is scheduled to begin in late May.

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