Kihikihi names in the spotlight

Road names in Kihikihi could be challenged now a new Waipā street naming policy has been confirmed and at least one councillor says that it is a way to better reflect the community.

The aim of the policy is to ensure names of council’s assets tell the story of Waipā and reflect Waipā’s natural, cultural and historic heritage while better reflecting the local communities.

Kihikihi-based councillor Marcus Gower said the policy was a good start and would give Kihikihi the tools needed to change streets.

But the prospect of names being changed has already generated a wave of social media debate.

Top of the initial list of names in question is Bryce St – named after the now discredited politician John Bryce.

Kihikihi street names have always been an issue with some residents and Gower says if the community feels strongly about them, they should contact him or the town’s ratepayers’ group to lobby for changes.

Two submitters to the proposed Waipā District Council Naming Policy, Dan Armstrong and Ruth Strawbridge, listed two names they said should go and gave their reasons at last week’s Strategic and Planning committee meeting.

Bryce Street, in both Cambridge and Kihikihi, must go and John Hewitt Drive moved, they said.

Bryce Street is named after John Bryce, a government minister in the late 1800s. He had no links with Waipā during his time in politics from 1859 to 1887 but then briefly and controversially became the member for Waipā in 1889.

Bryce was chairman of the Native Affairs Committee from 1876 to 1879 and Minister of Native Affairs from 1879 to 1884.

Responding to the growing pacifist settlement at Parihaka in Taranaki, led by Te Whiti-o-Rongomai and Tohu, he passed legislation enabling Māori to be imprisoned without trial.

John Bryce

Strawbridge said that names like Bryce Street highlight people with very little links to the district’s history and ignore others that did.

The late John Hewitt became Waipā mayor in 1995 after serving on the council since 1989. He was a Te Miro dry stock farmer and his ashes were spread over his farm following his death in December 2011.

Strawbridge and others in the Maungatautari area have long argued for a name replacement from John Hewitt Drive to Te Hiwi Drive, which better reflected the area’s history.

John Hewitt became Waipā mayor in 1995 after serving on the council since 1989. He was a Te Miro dry stock farmer and his ashes were spread over his farm following his death in December 2011.

Strawbridge and others in the Maungatautari area have long argued for a name replacement from John Hewitt Drive to Te Hiwi Drive, which better reflected the area’s history.

Gower said there has been no discussion on what the street names could be changed to and suggested it was something the Kihikihi community should lead.

Many Kihikihi streets are named after European politicians or soldiers who served during the mid to late 1800s – including Bryce, Cameron, Ballance, Lesley, Nixon and Sheehan.

But history views them differently – MP John Sheehan, for example, spoke Māori and was highly respected by Māori, soldiers Marmaduke Nixon and Duncan Cameron were key figures in the 1864 attack on Rangiaowhia by colonial troops.

Committee chairperson Susan O’Regan said the new policy was a way to “empower the community” and give them a say as to what place names best reflect the community they live in.

Name changes will only be done in exceptional circumstances and will not lead to any wholesale changes with more of a focus on a case by case matter, she said.

More Recent News

Te Awamutu Christmas parade attracts the crowds

It was great to see the Christmas Parade back in Te Awamutu today – staged in perfect weather. The News editor Roy Pilott was on hand to catch the action.

The Pakuru rose mystery

It’s not much a rose by any other name as a rose with no name. When Lorraine Flynn moved into her Pakuru St home in Te Awamutu 36 years ago the garden boasted six rose…

Ladies in waiting ….

Te Awamutu Intermediate students were pictured just before their performance at last week’s Celebrating Waipā event at Karāpiro. Guests joined mayor Susan O’Regan, councillors and community board members at the Don Rowlands Centre for the…

Top honours for Lisa 

She had visions of joining the police – but three years ago became a member of the Te Awamutu Volunteer Fire Brigade instead. Lisa Atkinson wouldn’t have it any other way today. “I love it,”…