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28 October 2020

The renaming of the ‘old Gladstone Road’ to Wairākau Road was made official at today’s Ordinary Council Meeting, further strengthening the relationship between Carterton District Council and Hurunui-o-Rangi Marae.

Councillors approved the name change after being presented with a report outlining the history of the road, which was bypassed in the mid-1950s when the council at the time straightened Gladstone Road to build a bridge across the Ruamāhanga River. The section of road separated the marae from its urupā, causing upset and insult to mana whenua’s cultural values.

Mayor Greg Lang said renaming the road was all about acknowledging the upset past decisions had caused and finding a way to move forward.

“We have been working hard to continue building a genuine and meaningful working relationship with Hurunui-o-Rangi Marae and today’s decision is another positive step forward for us all,” Mayor Lang said.

“We’ve spent time with the marae this year learning more about the district’s Māori history, which has been a crucial step in the relationship, as we cannot move forward together until we understand where each other has come from.

“It is really upsetting for our council to hear about the hurt that was caused by decisions made by past councils but we hope that by making the name Wairākau Road official, we have shown how seriously we value our relationship with mana whenua moving forward.”

Hurunui-o-Rangi Marae representative, Ra Smith was pleased with today’s decision.

“In a time of empathetic leadership, Hurunui-o-Rangi marae community is grateful to Carterton District Council for its empathy,” Smith said.

“Its recognition of an ancient name, Wairākau, is a sign-post to a future that includes Māori history as a part of Carterton’s identity.”

As well as formally renaming the road, the council has committed to regularly maintaining it, so it is fit for use.

To view Wairākau Road scheme plan, click here