'Absolutely not!': Hamilton councillors hit back over Māori rename

A chorus of Hamilton councillors is resisting a proposed Maori name change for the City Council.

Mayor Andrew King defended his plans to rebrand to 'Kirikiriroa', the Māori name for the city, on The AM Show this morning.

"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.

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

But at least five city councillors have responded to Newshub with their own opinions on the proposal.

"Absolutely not!" Angela O'Leary says.

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 ."

On Tuesday morning, when host Duncan Garner also criticised the idea, Mr King said the council could "multitask".

We can do several things at once."

"This is about activating the conversation, getting people talking, asking for a staff report to bring this forward.

"It doesn't have to cost a lot of money to change the name. It can be a soft changeover as the cards roll through.

"It's not a fast rollover."

But East Ward councillor Mark Bunting says it seems like an "impulsive idea".

"This is the same Mayor who tells us we are not making ends meet. It's a great idea in principle and worth exploring, but only if you have the money to do so."

Mr King earlier admitted he didn't know how much it would cost, but assumed it wouldn't be too expensive.

"We don't know how much it is until we get the report.

"From there we'll then decide what the next step is."

Councillor Leo Tooman estimates it'll cost "an arm and a leg" to change the signage.

"I'm against it. How long have we been called Hamilton? If it's not broken don't fix it I say.

Rob Pascoe also says he "won't be supporting it".

Mr King earlier admitted there were strong feelings towards his proposal going "both ways".

The Māori name translates to "fertile strip of land… and that's exactly what our city's been built on", Mr King says.


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