Haere mai ki Maniaiti
‘ It has always been important to Rereahu that our history and reo is maintained and enhanced not only for this generation, but for generations to come. ’
TE MARU O REREAHU IWI TRUST CHAIRMAN ERIC CROWN
Māori place names have been restored to the small central North Island town of Benneydale, and a nearby stretch of the North Island Main Trunk railway.
Minister for Land Information Eugenie Sage announced last week that Benneydale has been changed to a dual name, Maniaiti/ Benneydale, and the main trunk railway between Te Awamutu and Taumarunui, is now named Te Ara-o-Tū rongo following a request from Ngāti Maniapoto.
“I am pleased to restore official place names which bring to light our history for everyone to celebrate and enjoy,” said the minister.
“I accepted the recommendation of the New Zealand Geographic Board that there be the dual name Maniaiti/Benneydale in recognition of the unique histories of both names.
“The original Māori name, Maniaiti, has been maintained through oral tradition for the land on which the town lies and for the hill nearby.
“The name means a small slide or slip.”
Benneydale, home to nearly 200 people, was established around 1940 to house workers mining coal discovered in the area.
The name is a combination of the surnames of then Under-Secretary for Mines, Charlie Benney, and Mine Superintendent, Tom Dale.
In 1885 Nga¯ ti Maniapoto leaders gave land to the Crown to be used for the construction of the railway on Premier Robert Stout’s assurance that the section running through the district would be called Tū rongo, a significant tupuna (ancestor) of many Tainui groups.
The name Te Ara-o-Tū rongo means the track of Tū rongo or Tū rongo’s pathway.
Both name changes follow proposals to the New Zealand Geographic Board Ngaā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa by Te Arawhiti — the Office of Māori Crown Relations (formerly Office of Treaty Settlements), on behalf of Treaty claimants Ngāti Maniapoto.
Ngāti Maniapoto and Ngāti Rereahu share mana whenua over this area.
says Rereahu are very happy to hear that the New Zealand Geographic Board has accepted our historical record and the Minister has chosen to acknowledge the dual name of Maniaiti/Benneydale.
“It has always been important to Rereahu that our history and reo is maintained and enhanced not only for this generation, but for generations to come,” said Eric.
“This acknowledgement will not only allow a more complete understanding of our Rereahu Iwi history in the area but will also be an embodiment of the duality envisaged in the Treaty of Waitangi.”
Maniapoto Māori Trust Board chairman, R Tiwha Bell, said recognition of the original name Maniaiti reflects the wishes of kaumā tua of Ngāti Rereahu, who sought this outcome as part of the Treaty settlement negotiations with the Crown.
“We are pleased their wishes have been achieved.”
Maniaiti/Benneydale in the centre of the King Country — recognition of the Ma¯ ori place name Maniaiti for the land where the village was established and the hills seen behind.