Another Auckland park gets its original Māori name back

By Te Aorewa Rolleston for RNZ

West Auckland's Crum Park has had its name of Tahurangi Park reinstated, in a bid to normalise te reo Māori place names across the Auckland region.

The renaming of Crum Park in Titirangi to Tahurangi/Crum Park marks the start of a joint venture between the local iwi, Te Kawerau a Maki and Auckland Council, through a programme called Te Kete Rukuruku.

The programme aims to restore indigenous place names throughout local parks in Tamaki Makaurau, as a way of sharing traditional indigenous knowledge and storytelling.

Tahurangi/Crum Park is the first of 23 parks to have signs in both te reo Māori and English.

Whānau from Auckland Council and mana whenua at the unveiling of Tahurangi/Crum Park in west Auckland.
Whānau from Auckland Council and mana whenua at the unveiling of Tahurangi/Crum Park in west Auckland. Photo credit: RNZ

Te Kete Rukuruku programme manager Anahera Higgins said the dual naming provided an opportunity to recognise te reo and the history of the area.

"The heart of our programme, is that te reo Māori is seen, heard, learnt, and spoken as part of everyday life and the bilingual signs are a simple yet highly visible example of that," she said.

"One of the things I am extremely grateful for is that this is a programme led by mana whenua in partnership with Auckland Council, and which has been critical as we navigated our way through this important mahi."

The restoration also represents a focus from the council and manawhenua towards Te Tiriti o Waitangi partnerships.

A key purpose of Te Kete Rukuruku has been to acknowledge the centuries' old place names and cultural narratives that have existed prior to colonial settlement.

Whau local board chairperson Kay Thomas said it's long overdue and she's looking forward to Māori place names becoming the norm rather than the exception.

"Our local board is honoured by the names and stories Te Kawerau a Maki and mana whenua have shared with us and our community," she said.

"By having these stories and te reo Māori visible in our parks - people will become more comfortable with the language and learn more about the history of the area."

The return of the name 'Tahurangi' to Crum Park has been a project four years in the making and is the first Auckland park programme to carry full bilingual signage.

Te Kawerau a Maki representative Robin Taua-Gordon said the naming of Tahurangi/Crum park will ensure that the narratives of the past are not lost.

"The names in the landscape were like survey pegs, marking the events that happened in a particular place, recording some aspect or feature of the traditions and history of a tribe. The daily use of such place names meant that the history was always present, always available."

Iwi and council representatives are hopeful that the unveiling at Tahurangi/Crum Park will mark the beginning of a journey towards the normalisation of Māori names in the Whau area'.

Furthermore, there is a broader ambition to restore Māori place names to whenua across Aotearoa.

The new dual names for the 23 parks are up on the Auckland Council website, but the physical signs at the parks will only be erected when they are scheduled to be renewed.