Hamilton Mayor drops proposed Māori name change for City Council

The Mayor of Hamilton has apologised and says he is withdrawing his plan to change the name of the City Council to its Māori version.

Earlier this week Mayor Andrew King announced his plan to 'Kirikiriroa', the Māori name for the city.

"I think at the moment Kirikiriroa is written in tiny letters down the bottom. I think we need to lift that up and give it prominence and put the Hamilton in tiny letters down the bottom," he told The AM Show.

"I am sympathetic to our history and our full history - not just the history for the last hundred years."

But after a loud public backlash, Mr King says he has dropped the idea, calling the discussion he created an "unfortunate distraction".

"There are strong and contrasting views on the issue and our community has moved to debate before we have even talked about the concept," he says.

"We are about to discuss a draft 10-Year Plan with the residents of our city, and the reaction to this item has become an unfortunate distraction to that process."

At least five city councillors responded to Newshub with their own opinions on Mr King's proposal.

Councillor Geoff Taylor describes it as "a resource hungry process [which] doesn't help anyone".

"It's a bit random to be honest. First we've heard about it."

Hamilton East Ward councillor James Casson says he's "dead against it".

"It's turning into a circus. This is a distraction Hamilton does not need."

Mr King has apologised to his councillors for dropping the bombshell on them.

"I'm sorry that for some Councillors this came as a surprise," he says.

"It is clear to me my colleagues feel further discussion on this subject, at this time, will divert attention from our 10-year plan and the important decisions we must make with our community.

"Accordingly, I am withdrawing the recommendation in the report."