Hutt City Council votes to revert Petone's name back to Pito-one

The suburb of Petone in Wellington's Hutt Valley could be in for a name change to Pito-one.

The Hutt City Council has voted in support of a proposal to return the area to its original name - and it's gone down well with locals.

It was brought to the council by a number of iwi groups, who want to restore the original name of the area. 

"I declare the motion carried," the council chair said, during the vote.

The council is supporting a proposal to rename the suburb of Petone to Pito-one, which was the original name of the area until settlers changed it.

The council wants to correct historic injustices.

"We are in a privileged position as elected mayors to make decisions that will impact future generations," said Hutt City Council Mayor Campbell Barry.

The name Pito-one comes from the local beach, and is a culturally significant site for the local iwi, Te Āti Awa.

Pito-one beach is important to local iwi.
Pito-one beach is important to local iwi. Photo credit: Newshub.

The current Petone is a misspelling and mispronunciation of the original Māori name.

"The name talks about us as Te Āti Awa when we moved to live around the harbour, and establishing our sense of place," said Liz Mellish, chair of the Palmerston North Māori Reserve Trust.

Mellish is from Te Āti Awa and she's been advocating for the name change for years.

She helped put forward the proposal to the council.

"It's a small step but it enables us to educate our own people who live in the Hutt Valley," she told Newshub.

Liz Mellish (Te Āti Awa) helped take the proposal to restore the name of Pito-one to Council.
Liz Mellish (Te Āti Awa) helped take the proposal to restore the name of Pito-one to Council. Photo credit: Newshub.

And people Newshub spoke to around town supported the change.

"Most towns and cities they're changing to Māori names, so I'm happy with that," said one local woman.

"I think it's always been important to acknowledge Te Ao Māori, especially when it comes to spelling," another told Newshub.

"I think it's pretty cool to be touching back on the Māori culture and the roots," one man said.

Culture and roots that were finally recognised by the council today.

The next step is getting the Geographic Board to do the same.

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