By PHILIP CHANDLER
Residents of a Queenstown subdivision have taken the unusual step of changing its name.
Lakeside Estates, a high-end, 41-lot subdivision off the Kingston highway, just south of Jack’s Point and Homestead Bay, is now ‘Oraka’, which Maori called the area as it meant ‘sanctuary’.
Homeowners association chair Grant McLennan understands early Maori, if paddling down to Kingston in a southerly, ‘‘would duck in here to wait till it went away’’.
‘Drift Bay’ has also been added to the name to specify its location.
McLennan: ‘‘Our name change really reflects us trying to develop a sense of place that better reflects the wonderful environment in which we live and our commitment to enhance and protect it.’’
While some residents didn’t mind ‘Lakeside Estates’, McLennan notes others didn’t like ‘estates’, in particular, and felt ‘‘it’s an American kind of thing’’.
The name change is being accompanied by a new design for the entranceway, which is still being finalised.
At the same time, the association’s also committed to a biodiversity programme involving planting natives on spare land and upping its pest control strategy.
‘‘By protecting and enhancing native ecosystems, the Oraka community aims to create a sanctuary for native species,’’ the plan states.
‘‘The goal is to increase the numbers of common native birds (tui, korimako, piwakawaka) and see the return of birds such as kereru, ruru and kaka.’’
The former Lakeside Estates was developed in the ’90s by Kevin Carlin, who recently built Queenstown’s six-star The Carlin Hotel.