Wellington Council proposes te reo Māori name for waterfront walkway

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Wellington City Council has proposed a te reo Māori name for the popular walkway that runs along the capital's waterfront.

Ara Moana, meaning 'ocean pathway', was proposed by mana whenua for the waterfront promenade that runs from the bottom of Whitmore St to Heard St.

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester said the change "perfectly reflects the area".

"[It] is an elegant name for one of the most beautiful parts of Wellington," he said. "It also shows the council is serious about acknowledging the city's Māori heritage."

The name also recognises the Aramoana ferry, which operated across the Cook Strait between 1962 and 1983.

Another name, Lady Elizabeth Lane, has been proposed for a short pathway on Waterloo Quay.

The name recognises the work of the Wellington Police Maritime Unit rescuing people around the waterfront, using versions of the vessel Lady Elizabeth for the last 76 years.

Taranaki Whanui kaumatua Peter Jackson told the council both names had a maritime link, and their contribution to Wellington should be recognised.

"It's appropriate that Ara Moana has the main name, as it was the bigger of the two boats," he said.

The council's Regulatory Processes Committee unanimously passed the recommendation to name the waterfront access lane Lazy Elizabeth Lane and the broader waterfront pathway Ara Moana.

Local businesses must be consulted before the name change is fully implemented.