Te Mako vs Walter Nash in spat over new name for Taita cente
Dina Awarau says Maori children in Taita will not develop pride in their culture if the council continues to ignore Maori history. She had to lobby to get Maori names for new streets in a Pomare community sub-division. She wants the soon to be opened $12 million Taita Sports and Community Centre to have a name that acknowledges Maori history.
Tempers flared at a Hutt City Council meeting as politicians struggled to agree on a name for the $12 million Taita Sports and Community Centre.
The city council has considered a number of names, including Te Mako and Walter Nash Te Mako, for the building which includes a revamped Walter Nash Stadium.
The Northern Ward Committee, which appeared to have the delegated authority to make the decision, favoured Walter Nash Te Mako.
Sir Walter Nash was one of New Zealand’s most prominent politicians. He lived in Lower Hutt and was a significant figure in the history of the Labour Party and the development of the welfare state.
Te Mako was the name of a pa in Naenae with links to Wi Tako Ngatata Te Taitai, after whom Taita was named.
Council general manager Matt Reid and centre manager Lesley Slieker made impassioned pleas for Te Mako.
They argued the facility is of regional importance and it was important to have a name that reflected its importance.
When Reid gave his “personal view”, an irritated Cr Max Shierlaw raised a point of order and said council officers should stick to the facts.
A second similar point of order from Shierlaw was rejected by the chair, resulting in Shierlaw storming out.
“I will come back when we start talking on the issue.”
He accused Reid of talking “rubbish” as he joined the public gallery.
The city development committee had earlier heard from a number of community spokespeople from Taita and Pomare.
They noted that over 50 percent of the population in Taita is Maori or Polynesian.
Despite strong historical links to early Maori there are very few Maori street names.
Speaking as a private individual, Northern Ward Committee member Dina Awarau noted that 78 per cent of pupils in local schools are Maori or Polynesian.
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Pete says: We already have a name in use, Taita. It is the original name for the whole area. The old community centre was known as “Taita” for sixty years. The Taita Centre will do me, and retain Walter Nash for the stadium.