Yeah, Nah: Should Russell township be renamed Kororāreka?

Aotearoa’s first capital, Russell, could have its name changed back to Kororāreka – its original Māori name.

The township, in the Bay of Islands, was known as Kororāreka until the 1840s and was one of the first places in New Zealand that Europeans settled.

It was named Russell after the leader of the British House of Commons, Lord John Russell, who never visited the country.

The New Zealand Geographic Board Ngā Pau Taunaha o Aotearoa is calling for public feedback on the proposal to change the name back.

* Treaty House name signifies importance of house on the hill
* Proposal to change name of Russell township to original Māori name
* Aotearoa, Nu Tīreni, New Zealand – it’s a complicated issue

It said the proposal had support from Te Rūnanga ā Iwi o Ngāpuhi and the Far North District Council.

The name ‘Kororāreka’ tells the story of an unwell chief who was brought back to health with soup made from the little blue penguin.

‘Kororā’ translates to ‘blue penguin’, while ‘reka’ translates to ‘sweet’.

Russell in the Bay of Islands may be renamed Kororāreka. (File photo)


Russell in the Bay of Islands may be renamed Kororāreka. (File photo)

Meanwhile, the restoration of the original Māori name is such a done deal in some locals’ minds they are already using it as their postal address.

What do you think of the proposal? Have your say in our poll.

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