The point has a name: Te Para Koaru

Pictured: The Point with No Name is on the headland out from Roys Peak towards Glendhu Bay.| Photo: Emma Conyngham

Late last year, the Wanaka Sun published a story about the Point With No Name that is part of the headland between Wanaka and Glendhu Bay. Whatever name it originally had with local moa hunters from centuries ago, it had long since disappeared. Dr Jim Williams, from Te Tumu, School of Maori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies at Otago University said, “the old name might turn up, but how, we aren’t so sure”.

In response to the story, local man Ian Gazzard submitted a map to the Wanaka Sun believing that the name was ‘Tanah’ however Dr Williams responded that no Maori names end in ‘H’.

The Wanaka Sun liaised with Ngāi Tahu who responded at length in regards to Gazzard’s map: “The ‘Ngāi Tahu 1880 Map’ is among the most important archives of tribal significance to Ngāi Tahu. Produced in 1880 under the supervision of Hori Kerei Taiaroa from Ōtākou, the map has been copied, traced, quoted and referenced numerous times. A tracing of the original map was presented to the Native Land Court hearings at Tuahiwi on 18 February 1925, and a copy of the map was presented as part of the evidence before the Waitangi Tribunal for the Ngāi Tahu Claim in 1987-1990. The map has been integral to the creation of Kā Huru Manu (The Ngāi Tahu Cultural Mapping Project), which has mapped about 6,000 place names on the tribal GIS to date. In 2018 the New Zealand Geographic Board accepted Kā Huru Manu as an authoritative publication based on Ngāi Tahu having systematically and methodically identified, collected, and verified traditional Māori place names.
“Many of the place names on the original map appear in abbreviated form -- the name interpreted by [Mr Gazzard] as ‘Tanah’ is Whākai Takiaho, a mahinga kai site on the western edge of Lake Wānaka. This name is not the name assigned to the point concerned. Te Para Koaru is the traditional Ngāi Tahu name for the entire headland between Glendhu Bay and Wānaka. Te Para Koaru was a traditional mahinga kai site where tuna (eels), āruhe (fernroot), and weka were gathered.

“The New Zealand Geographic Board (NZGB) is New Zealand’s national place naming authority responsible for official place names in New Zealand. To officially restore Te Para Koaru to the landscape feature concerned an application needs to be submitted to the New Zealand Geographic Board. Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu would support the kaitiaki Ngāi Tahu Papatipu Rūnaka in progressing such an application.”
To restore the name Te Para Koaru to the Point With No Name, a submission needs to be made to NZGB. Takerei Norton, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Archive Manager said, “The NZGB process does require the application to meet a certain level of detail and in this instance it is pretty clear that this depth of knowledge resides with the iwi. I think the most appropriate scenario would be for the kaitiaki Papatipu Rūnaka to submit the application to meet the requirements of the NZGB process with supporting letters from the local community.”

Once Ngāi Tahu has submitted their name proposal, NZGB enters a public consultation process. The NZGB advertises name proposals in the New Zealand Gazette, relevant newspapers and on the Land Information New Zealand website. For Wanaka locals who want to be a part of the naming process, you can make a submission in support (or objection) of Ngai Tahu’s proposal. Each submission needs to include ‘a clear statement of whether you support or object to the name proposed; your reasons for supporting or objecting to the proposal; if you object to the proposal, you may suggest another name or the existing name (if any). Other helpful information you can include; research material, published references to the name, and a photo of the place or feature.’

Local councillor, Quentin Smith said, “We haven’t considered or formed a view of [the name change] but if there is a case for it, we can consider it.”

But one local is quietly skeptical. Te Kakano nursery manager, Andrew Penniket, who spends much of his time on the point in question, believes historian Herries Beattie possibly identified a different name in early 20th century anthropological studies. Penniket thinks Te Para Koaru covers the entire headland, rather than just the point in question which he says is full of hangi pits and even Moa bones, so was clearly an important kai spot for Maori.

“If anything I’d like to see the Maori name of Damper Bay restored,” he said.

Research through one of Beattie’s books proved fruitful with the original name of Damper Bay showing as Tane-aurora (the man of the long rapid).


More: Local point’s name lost in archives


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