Wes­ley fights to keep name

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - HUGH COLLINS

An Auck­land com­mu­nity is fac­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of los­ing its name to a hous­ing de­vel­op­ment in south Auck­land.

The com­pa­nies be­hind a de­vel­op­ment north of Pukekohe have sub­mit­ted an ap­pli­ca­tion to the New Zealand Ge­o­graphic Board (NZGB) to gain ex­clu­sive rights to the name Wes­ley.

The NZGB is New Zealand’s na­tional place nam­ing au­thor­ity re­spon­si­ble for of­fi­cial place names in New Zealand.

If suc­cess­ful it would strip the small com­mu­nity of Wes­ley in the cen­tral Auck­land sub­urb of Mt Roskill of its name.

While Wes­ley in Mt Roskill is not a sub­urb with a post­code, it does have a pri­mary and in­ter­me­di­ate school along with a com­mu­nity cen­tre, largely sit­u­ated around San­dring­ham Road.

The pro­posed new town of Wes­ley in South Auck­land is be­ing de­vel­oped as a joint ven­ture by com­pany Grafton Downs and the Wes­ley Col­lege Trust Board. It plans to de­velop up to 5000 homes around Wes­ley Col­lege.

Mt Roskill’s Wes­ley In­ter­me­di­ate School prin­ci­pal of 20 years and for­mer stu­dent Nigel Davis said he was ‘‘gut­ted’’ when he heard his com­mu­nity could lose its name.

‘‘This is Wes­ley and it has been Wes­ley for 50, 60, 70 years that I’m aware of,’’ Davis said.

Wes­ley was what many fam­i­lies in the area con­sid­ered their home, not Mt Roskill or Mt Al­bert, he said.

Mt Roskill MP Michael Wood said Wes­ley was a name deeply in­grained in the fab­ric of the com­mu­nity.

Both Wood and Davis were con­cerned about the de­vel­oper’s lack of com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the Wes­ley com­mu­nity.

Wes­ley Col­lege Trust Board and Grafton Downs gen­eral secretary Chris John­ston said it in­ves­ti­gated Wes­ley in Mt Roskill and dis­cov­ered it did not have a postal ad­dress.

John­ston said the joint ven­ture ex­plained to the Puke­ta­papa Lo­cal Board in Oc­to­ber plans to seek an agree­ment to dis­es­tab­lish the sub­urb ref­er­ence of Wes­ley within Mt Roskill.

He also an­nounced plans in a pub­lic no­tice which ap­peared in the New Zealand Her­ald on two oc­ca­sions in July 2016.

NZGB’s secretary Wendy Shaw said Wes­ley Col­lege Trust Board’s pro­posal would be con­sid­ered at the next NZGB meet­ing on May 18.

HUGH COLLINS/FAIRFAX NZ

Wes­ley In­ter­me­di­ate prin­ci­pal Nigel Davis says many fam­i­lies con­sider Wes­ley their home.

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