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Riverton Park On Track For Te Reo Name Change

Koi Koi Park in Riverton/Aparima will be the new home of the town's iconic pāua shell. It is also on track for a name change. Credit: Matthew Rosenberg/LDR

A Riverton/Aparima park will likely have its name changed ahead of the Southland town's iconic pāua shell moving in.

This week, Ōraka Aparima Community Board backed a change of spelling for Koi Koi Park to Kohikohi Park.

It followed a request from Ōraka Aparima Rūnaka kaihautu Riki Dallas to find out who the sign for Koi Koi Park was in honour of.

While no definitive proof was found for how the park got its name, there had been past misspellings of renowned Māori wahine Kohikohi.

Kohihoki was the daughter of chief Horomonoa Patu of Rarotoka Island.

She married whaler Captain John Howell, bringing with her 50,000 acres of land as a dowry in what now surrounds the present day township.

Alongside that information, the Southland District Council report prepared for the community board also said the council had been advised by Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa New Zealand Geographic Board that Koi Koi Park was not recorded on maps.

Another complication was the fact that ‘koi’ means peninsula.

But community board chair Michael Weusten said the decision was made by the board to back the name change to Kohikohi because it was correcting an error in translation.

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“The previous name had no alignment with anything, it was just that it was a misspelling of the term (Kohikohi) which was one of the chief’s daughter’s names.”

Weusten said there was never a peninsula in the vicinity of the park, ruling that option out.

“There was no ground there, it was like a beach."

The official change would go before the council in a matter of weeks, he said, ahead of the town’s icon arriving at the park in what would likely be August or September.

The recently refurbished giant pāua shell will be erected at its new location once site works have been completed.

LDR is local body journalism co-funded by RNZ and NZ On Air

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