The Hutt River is the name of our river...
Here is another case of the politically correct Geographic Board trying to drive public opinion. I would suggest that they should get out and establish what the public thinks before making a decision about name changes. They don't have such a mandate to do so. We live in a multiracial democracy and the majority should make any decision.
The Wanganui/Whanganui controversy was a case where a minority forced their opinions through on the coat-tails of the Geographic Board. The majority wanted the retention of the Wanganui spelling for the City of Wanganui. The minority Maori interests got their own way with the spelling of the river, and so be it! But pronunciation is not with a soft F, but with the same W sound. Maori don't have a traditional written language; so who could really tell anyway?
This latest nonsense is what appears to be a fait accompli - the Geographic Board has decided the name of the Hutt River will be changed to Te Awa Kairangi the name given by the original tribe or iwi that lived in the area. Really? It is based on oral history; pretty dubious in my opinion. Who was the real original iwi to live in the area.? All the original tribes in the area were driven off by the present iwi who originated from the Taranaki.
It appears to be alright for Maori tribes to usurp land from each other, to enslave and kill the alleged original inhabitants, but not for caucasian people from Britain, Ireland and Western Europe to do the same. All some of them did was to usurp a bit of land from Taranaki iwi; people who had originally fled from Taranaki in the 1830's as invading Tainui forces neared their area. They fled to the Wellington/Hutt areas for protection from British troops based there.
We can record the original names for posterity, but I totally oppose any name change for the Hutt River, which would create a precedent to change the name of Lower and Upper Hutt cities, and the name of the Hutt Valley itself. The only time a name change could be considered would be when the two cities decide to amalgamate; and this could happen sooner or later if the National Government is re-elected next year, and its super city policy is extended further south.
I would suggest the Geographic Board enforces the use of the proper name for the southern entity in the Hutt Valley - Lower Hutt. I complained to the Geographic Board some years ago about the practice by the Hutt City Council, some media interests and a number of businesses in refering to our city as Hutt City. I think it has been a back-door method in preparing the public for a name change that has never came about. The Hutt City Council has never applied to the Geographic Board for a name change, though they did communicate on a whim with the board about the required procedure for name changes.
No doubt there will be some discussion during the coming local body election campaign about the controversial policy to change the name of the Hutt River. I say no now, and no again in the future! Go paddle somebody else's waka!