Paying tribute to what came before: Kelvin Peninsula resident Warren Skerrett, left, and KPCA treasurer Alan Townsend by the new peninsula sign. PICTURE: JAMES ALLAN PHOTOGRAPHY

Queenstown’s Kelvin Peninsula now has an official te reo Māori name, too.

On the stone sign at the entrance to the subdivision, ‘Te Nuku-o-Hākitekura’ — ‘the place of Hākitekura’ — has been added in italics underneath ‘Kelvin Peninsula’.

Named after the chief’s daughter who was the first person to swim across Lake Whakatipu, Te Nuku-o-Hākitekura is the name for the peninsula originally handed down in Māori oral tradition from the early 18th century.

In the mid-1980s, local identity Dickson ‘Cap’ Jardine made efforts to get that name recognised, but was unsuccessful.

In ’99, however, with support from the local council and Kelvin Peninsula Community Association (KPCA), ‘Kelvin Peninsula’ was officially recognised by the New Zealand Geographic Board.

Over the past year, KPCA then got approval from the council, Māori runanga and its own members to add ‘Te Nuku-o-Hākitekura’.

‘‘KPCA considered it was long overdue that we recognised this Māori place name,’’ chair David Mayhew says.

‘‘This does not involve changing the official name of the peninsula, rather, Te Nuku-o-Hākitekura is now included on our peninsula sign to recognise and pay tribute to what came before.’’

Meantime, local Ngāi Tahu kaumātua Darren Rewi says it’s fantastic to see a significant increase in communities engaging with te reo Māori.

‘‘I’ve noticed in the last six months, there’s a high level of te reo being spoken in our community — I’ve been to welcomes all spoken in Māori by locals and visitors and that’s really cool.

‘‘Schoolkids absolutely love learning [te reo] and by their third year they can tell you at least 10 Māori words and a couple of waiata, so it’s great.’’

Language schools in the district are quickly oversubscribed, demonstrating a ‘‘real demand’’, and Te Wiki o te reo Māori events have had huge and diverse turnouts, predominantly comprising Pākehā and migrant residents.

Rewi says it’s wonderful to hear the language spoken so comfortably.

‘‘It’s what we should be celebrating and when we do it well, we become good role models to the younger kids.’’


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