Petone to Pito-one: Changing the name of an area

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Published: 27 November 2023

On Tuesday, Hutt City Council agreed to provide a letter of support to the New Zealand Geographic Board to change the spelling of the name Petone to Pito-one.

Wellington Tenths Trust and Palmerston North Māori Reserves Trust will be making their proposal to the New Zealand Geographic Board, and the board will make the decision on whether the name is changed.

Council was approached to support this application to the Geographic Board to revert Petone to its original name.

So, how is a name changed in Aotearoa New Zealand?

Councils do not have the power to change the name of an area. This decision lies with the New Zealand Geographic Board, the authority that provides new placenames and corrects misspelled placenames within New Zealand’s territory.

The Board considers proposed name changes after a consultation process with affected communities and Mana Whenua before a decision is made. This means that people will be able to have their say on the name change and share their support or concerns when the Board opens consultation on this proposal.

Council has no role in the process or authority over the Board’s final decision.

Where does Pito-one come from, and why is the name change being proposed?

The area was formerly known as Pito-one, which was defined by the Pito-one pā next to the foreshore. The current name is thought to be either a misspelling or mispronunciation of the original Māori name for the area.

We have a strong commitment to Mana Whenua and one way we do this is to support their ability to make a name change proposal to the New Zealand Geographical Board.

This is also in line with our Naming Policy, and we are required to support the usage of appropriate names to protect and enhance the character and heritage of the city.