Politics of road-naming too much for council


A road by any other name was not good enough for the Queenstown’s council.

At Thursday’s full meeting, councillors were tasked with renaming the eastern access road – picking from a shortlist of seven names.

None met the mark.

During the public forum, Brian Fitzpatrick, on behalf of Remarkables Park Ltd, said his preference was for the name Remarkables Park Road.

But he was not raising a “spectre”, he said, giving as examples Harry Potter’s nemesis Lord Voldemort, referred to as “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named”, Shakespeare’s Macbeth (often referred to as The Scottish Play); or New Zealand’s rugby team, who the Wallabies are refusing to call the All Blacks.

He says Remarkables Park Rd is nothing more than reference to a locality, which was appropriate and no different from many other roads around the district.

The eastern access road, which is under construction, will eventually link State Highway 6 at Glenda Dr to Remarkables Park via the back of Queenstown Airport’s runway.

Councillors were divided on the future name.

Simon Stamers-Smith and Scott Stevens were in favour of Remarkables Park Drive.

They both believe that name is appropriate because it links to the Remarkables Park shopping centre, while Stamers-Smith says it also takes into account the view of the Remarkables mountains for south-bound motorists.

But deputy mayor Lyal Cocks suggested a different name entirely.

His preference is to extend Hawthorne Dr – the road presently used to access Remarkables Park – to State Highway 6 near Glenda Dr.

The council had a thorough process in naming that section of road and in every other similar case, he says, the existing road name has been extended.

His motion was seconded by Craig ‘Ferg’ Ferguson, with mayor Vanessa van Uden saying it’s a “logical name”.

Stevens didn’t agree and questioned the relevance of “Hawthorne”.

“It was named that for whatever reason, but taking on board what Brian [Fitzpatrick] was saying … [the road] does have a relevance to a town centre.”

Van Uden contends if that logic is followed, the road could “just as easily be called Five Mile or airport”.

“The rationale for saying we should call it Remarkables Park Dr is just as flawed as saying we should call it Five Mile.”

While Cath Gilmour believes Hawthorne Dr might remove “the politics”, it isn’t a good enough reason.

Other options were quickly ruled out because they referred to wider areas.

They were Oterotu, the Maori name for the Frankton area; Frances or Frances Rees, a Wakatipu settler after whom Frankton was named; and Tahuna, the Maori word for Queenstown.

Cocks’ recommendation was put to a vote but it was lost by a majority.

The name of the road will be “back to the drawing board” for infrastructure principal planner Denis Mander, who will prepare an agenda item for a future council meeting.

Otago Daily Times