The re-naming of a township that lies on the outskirts of Whanganui has now taken place.
By Regan Paranihi, Ethan Oneroa
Known formerly as Maxwell, its name change had been approved by the New Zealand Geographic Board last year, endorsed by the local council.
Locals of the newly named township of Pākaraka were welcomed onto Pākaraka Marae on Saturday to learn the history of the area, as well as to have the first welcome signs posted up on each of its road entrances.
It was a momentous occasion for the mana whenua - Ngā Rauru Kītahi, as well as the hapū of Ngāti Maika, who had fought for the name change since the signing of their deed of settlement in 2003.
Ngāti Maika hapū representative Bob Brownlie told Te Karere it was emotional for the whānau to see the signs finally installed along the main highway that runs through the township.
"Putting the signs up I felt the emotion from that group and it was quite powerful."
Speaking on behalf of Ngā Rauru Kītahi, Rauru Broughton said naming the town after a sergeant who attacked unarmed Māori children around the area in 1868 brought about long-standing grievances for the iwi and the local hapū.
“He w’akarauora i te ingoa taketake o te ro’e nei ‘ei oranga mō ngā iwi o tēnei wā me ngā w’akatipuranga te w’ai ake nei (It’s reviving the indigenous name of this area for our tribe as well as future generations)."