Here's is Mike's report on Wendy's presentation tonight.
Several years ago I noticed in the newspaper that Wellington City Council proposed to change the name of one of its reserves. Its current name was ‘Viaduct Park’, named after a large wooden viaduct on the old railway line. It was proposed that it be renamed to ‘Seton Nossiter’ Park, recognising a settler farmer in the area.
‘Seton Nossiter’ struck me as a name Monty Python might have invented, and to my mind it was not an improvement, but I did not feel very strongly about it.
Places have names, old names get changed, and new streets or features must be assigned new names. Without names, daily life would be very confusing. Mostly we take all this for granted.
Wendy Shaw, Secretary of the NZ Geographic Board talked to the club this week about their work in assigning names in New Zealand (towns, lakes, passes, even railway stations), the offshore islands, and the Ross Sea Dependency.
The Board has a long history, statutory roles, and strict processes for settling on new names or changing existing ones. Notification and public consultation is a key part of this, because, unlike in my example, people do get exercised about names in their locality or to which they have a personal connection.
Wendy explained all this in some detail. We were left with the impression that this was a part of the public service which was functioning quietly and efficiently, and in which we could have confidence.
Here is the visual presentation that Wendy showed to us. Presentation 2021.03.2023.pdf