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Debate erupts over proposal of Kaikohe name change

Debate erupts over proposal of Kaikohe name change
02 November 2009

Maori academic and Ngapuhi leader, David Rankin, has sparked outrage from some quarters at his plan to have the name of Kaikohe changed.

In the wake of the furore over the W(h)anganui debate, Mr. Rankin – a descendent of Hone Heke – has presented evidence to both the Maori Language Commission and the New Zealand Geographic Board as to why the name of the northland town should be changed to its original name: Opango.

“Kaikohe, which is short for Kaikohekohe, was a name imposed on our people by our enemy at the time, Ngati Whatua”, says Mr. Rankin, “No Maori community would accept living with a name that carries such dishonour, and now is the time to revert to the NgaPuhi name for the location: Opango”.

Mr. Rankin states that he is acting on the same principle as Te Arawa, which has protested about the use of the name “Hongi’s Track”.

“We feel very strongly about this”, says Mr. Rankin, “and we are preparing for a campaign which will dwarf anything that happened in Whanganui. My whanau are buried in the centre of Opango (aka Kaikohe), and we will not allow another generation to die under a foreign name.

Mr. Rankin has already started a petition on the issue which has around 600 signatures, and has considered organising a hikoi, as well as other protest action, if the matter is not promptly resolved.


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