Wesley fights to keep name
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.
Wesley Intermediate principal Nigel Davis says many families consider Wesley their home.