Wellington's Civic Square gets new Māori name

Te Ngākau means the heart.
Te Ngākau means the heart. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Wellington has been given a new name for Civic Square in the central city - Te Ngākau, meaning the heart.

The name was gifted by collective Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika to celebrate the launch of Wellington City Council's new te reo policy, Te Tauihu.

Mayor Justin Lester says: "It is a public statement of our commitment to the language, an acknowledgement of the mana of Māori culture and values, of our joint history and of the whakapapa of our rohe."

The te reo policy aims to make the language widely seen, heard and spoken around the capital city.

"The Council will lead the way in incorporating te reo in its decision-making processes and functions, in how it communicates, through city signage, facilities, design and through cultural investment," Deputy Mayor Jill Day says.

"This is a big task, not only for the Council, but for all of us - schools, businesses, shops and food places, public transport, places we gather, places we go and in the home."

Taranaki Whānui Chairman Wayne Mulligan says: "The Te Tauihu policy is crucial to us as iwi as it speaks to how we will restore, revitalise and strengthen our reo Māori for our future generations.

"We are honoured to gift the use of Te Ngākau to the city as a symbol how this policy aims to place te reo Māori into the heart of our people and nation."

The Council and mana whenua are also working on te reo Māori names for Botanic Gardens and the Town Belt.

The Council wants to make Wellington a te reo Māori city by 2040.