Central Wellington area officially named Paekākā, recognising Taranaki Whānui and Māori heritage

Wellington Botanic Gardens.
Wellington Botanic Gardens. Photo credit: Getty Images

The central Wellington area covering the Botanic Garden precinct, Anderson Park and Bolton Street Memorial Park has been named to recognise the Taranaki Whānui and Māori heritage in the area.

The new name was proposed by Wellington City Council after mana whenua Taranaki Whānui gifted it to them.

After many submissions to the New Zealand Geographic Board regarding the potential of a new name, Minister for Land Information Hon Damien O'Connor made the final decision this week.

The area will be officially named Paekākā.

Board Chairperson Anselm Haanen said they supported the new name.

"Officially naming the area provides a common reference for residents, businesses and other users. We considered Paekākā to be an appropriate name as it recognises Taranaki Whānui and Māori heritage in the area.

"Paekākā is the traditional Māori name for the Pipitea Marae gardens, which were located near Molesworth Street but no longer exist. The name refers to the perch or realm of the kākā bird and connects with the restored population of kākā, which are found again in the area."

Wellington City Councillor Jill Day also commented that the new name supports mana whenua and Council aspirations to increase awareness and improve understanding of the context of te reo Māori within Wellington. 

"This is another step towards Wellington being the te reo Māori capital of Aotearoa," she said.

The new place name does not change or replace existing names for suburbs, localities and reserves within the area.