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Wairarapa’s only town with an unofficial name


On map, but not official

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It’s official – Masterton is the only town in Wairarapa with an unofficial name.

Last week, the New Zealand Geographic Board made 699 official decisions on place names in New Zealand, including Carterton, and Eketāhuna, which now has a macron in the middle of its name.

They now join Featherston, Greytown, and Martinborough as official place names.

Tararua Mayor Tracey Collis, who lives in Eketāhuna said the macron was critical to telling the story behind the name.

“Eke is to cross and tāhuna means sandbank. If the name isn’t used with the macron, it changes the meaning.

“It’s really important and really pleasing to have that recognised officially. It’s a good day for Eketāhuna.”

She said the community had already been using the macron.

In Carterton district, the town’s name itself was made official last week, as well as Clareville, Carrington, Dalefield, Longbush, and Mount Holdsworth.

Carterton District Council chief executive Jane Davis said she was delighted that Carterton and its surrounding localities had finally been officially recognised, and she thanked the board.

Other Wairarapa place names now made official include Kaituna in Masterton, and Tiraumea and Mangatainoka in the Tararua district.

Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson congratulated Carterton and Eketāhuna on their official status and looked forward to Masterton being officially named in the future. Although Masterton is not officially named, Masterton District is officially recognised by the board.

“As a council we obviously work for the whole of the district, which is why the name Masterton District is officially recognised,” Patterson said.

“I think as a community, we’ve well and truly put ourselves on the map, but it is probably about time to consider what work is required to ensure Masterton’s names, including the use of Whakaoriori where it is appropriate, are made official. I understand this would require some consultation with our community, including iwi, and this will be progressed over time.”

Board chairman Anselm Haanen said it may surprise many people to learn that the name of the place they lived in had not yet been made official, even if it had been used for a long time. Once official, place names must be used in all official documents, such as road signs, maps, websites, and databases.

“It’s important to ensure we preserve and protect place names so that they endure, and we have certainty about their location, extent, origin and authenticity,” Haanen said.

In 2016, the township of Lake Ferry was made official by the board, before some of its bigger neighbours including Eketāhuna, Masterton, Carterton, Greytown, Featherston, and Martinborough.

Featherston was made official in May 2018, and Greytown and Martinborough were made official in December last year.


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