Tauranga MP opposes Greerton name change

Greerton, where Cameron Rd meets Chadwick Rd. Photo. Daniel Hines.

Tauranga MP Simon Bridges has made it clear he opposes any proposal which involves the renaming of Greerton.

However, one community leader believes it is time to have a 'brave conversation” about the background surrounding the Tauranga suburb and a potential future name change.

Greerton is named after Lieutenant-Colonel H.H Greer, a British commanding officer of the 68th Regiment, based in Tauranga from 1864 to 1866.

Greer led the British forces in the Battle of Te Ranga in June 1864 following the Battle of Gate Pa in April the same year.

This affiliation has seen Te Tuinga Whanau executive director Tommy Wilson call on the community to consider a potential name change, an idea he has been bouncing around for about 15 years.

He points out that his own daughter recently attended the Gate Pa site and that the younger community in Tauranga will soon have questions.

'The conversation needs to be had for lots of reasons,” says Tommy. 'We teach our at-risk youth and our people the history of Tauranga.

'They will want to know why this place is named after Colonel Greer. He was far worse than Cameron. He almost massacred woman and children, well he did, at Te Ranga.”

Tommy is referring to General Duncan Cameron, whom the main arterial road in Tauranga is named after, who led the British troops in the Battle of Gate Pa.

But Bridges has made it clear he opposes any potential name change.

He suggests it would be a waste of time and an unnecessary inconvenience. He also opines that most residents are likely unaware of the origins of Greerton's naming in the first place.

'We all know Greerton as Greerton and I doubt many, if any, even know the history of why it's called that,” he says.

'Let's not waste time, energy and confuse everyone with a possible name change.”

Tommy highlights the gravitation toward calling Mount Maunganui, Mauao, as an example of how the community might be ready for this change.

The New Zealand Geographic Board Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa can alter the local authority names for a district or region over which a regional council has jurisdiction.

However, as detailed on the Land Information New Zealand website, the NZGB would require the support of any relevant local authority before processing a proposal for a populated place.

That would mean Tauranga City Council would need to be involved, including a formal resolution. TCC have been contacted for comment.

If a proposal to NZGB received objections, the final decision would rest with the Minister for Land Information Damien O'Connor. The Minister's office confirms there are currently no proposals tabled for any name change at Greerton.

In LINZ's criteria for place names they encourage the restoration of original Māori place names or the adoption of surnames or ancestral Māori names of a notable leader, of good character, who has a strong association with the area.

Tommy is pleased the issue has sparked some debate, even commending some of the more tongue-in-cheek suggestions that have been shared on social media.

However, he is firm in the belief that any Maori name for Greerton should be easy to pronounce.

'I think a lot of pushback has been that if we use a Maori name that is too long people can't pronounce it,” he says.

'I think that has to be factored into whatever decision has been made. When that change comes it has to be a Maori name that is easy to pronounce.”

Tommy suggests Taratoa, after Henare Wiremu Taratoa, an Ngai Te Rangi leader who has been attributed with courteous and kind treatment of British soldiers at Gate Pa. He also suggests naming Greerton after Noel Pope, the former Mayor of Tauranga, who passed away in 2019.

Tommy, however, believes the final decision on any potential name change would need to come from in-depth consultation, particularly involving Ngāti Ranginui and their affiliate Hapu.

'It wouldn't just be one Hapu,” he says. 'It would be one broad consultation process. But it is great that it is sparking debate. The decision should be put at the foot of Ngāti Ranginui as this is their area.”

Bridges, however, is strongly of the opinion that the suburb should keep its current designation.

'To change it would be counterproductive and wrong.”


Enough is enough

Posted on 05-05-2021 07:42 | By Angels

This new government will get a shock when it pulls their head out of their shady area. This new unwoke government needs to be stopped.next government must be prepared to reverse all the stupidity that the our unwoke government is doing. Democracy must come first

Cancel culture

Posted on 05-05-2021 07:55 | By Slim Shady

Yeah, remove all links to colonisation. Start with the welfare system.

Losing battle on that one...

Posted on 05-05-2021 08:17 | By jed

This is just the start. The move to a hybrid pidgin language is well underway. New Zealand is going to become a third world country I'm afraid. Education has nose dived (data shows that), the woke have taken over and there is no hope of recovery for at least a few generations . Maori are going to get their seperatist state, they already control the health system.


Posted on 05-05-2021 08:24 | By Told you

Just leave the name as it is, what happened over 100 years ago should not influence change.


Posted on 05-05-2021 09:05 | By rogue

I have never agreed with Simon Bridges before, but finally he is right about something. Could we please stop deleting things out if our history just because they don't fit the "current " narrative. If we keep deleting history we will loose our cultural fabric which has been the building of our very young nation. Change for the sake of change will help no one.

Labour rubbish

Posted on 05-05-2021 09:14 | By an_alias

Why is Labour forcing renaming of everything to Maori ? Divide and concur ? No this is not part of our report that said exactly what they have been doing. If we can't do it we will just change the law and do it anyway.

Te Tuinga Whanau

Posted on 05-05-2021 09:15 | By Yadick

Are doing good work in our community. Keep it up as it is appreciated. The name changing of Greerton is not productive. It's a total waste of time and money which is not something Te Tuinga Whanau is known for. We don't need Maori names for everything and everywhere. A prime example is the ridiculous naming of the Mount main street skateboard park. I do realise you address the opposition to long names in the article. Apart from nothing at all what is wrong with the name Greeton. Your efforts Tommy would be better sorting the chaos of reading in Greerton but better still, stick to the good work you're doing in the community.


Posted on 05-05-2021 09:27 | By Let's get real

We have some very damaged people in places of influence in NZ. Some of them need to stick to their knitting. Tommy gave narrated walks around the base track of Mauau many years ago and when challenged about his account of historical activities he informed us that historical information depends upon which side of the battle you were on and who won.... Something that I strongly believe when claims are made in our current environment of needing to be kind.

Is it just me?

Posted on 05-05-2021 09:33 | By Andrew64

Or has anyone else had enough of Maoris wanting this or Maoris wanting that. Every single day there’s a new claim or some kind of grab or a name change proposal. Its too much. It’s well past time for all NZers to be just NZers; none of this race based discrimination. Just let sleeping dogs lie.

just another name

Posted on 05-05-2021 10:23 | By hapukafin

What is the unecessary rate payers and international map change cost to have a name change.?There will be enough local residence to continue using Greerton for the next generation


Posted on 05-05-2021 11:34 | By Kancho

Quote " the past is a foreign country; they do things differently there " so Greerton wasn't a nice person he was a soldier in a harder time. One doesn't need to go far in comparison on atrocities between tribes of killing and plundering by "warriors" raiding parties taking everything taking slaves and feasting on victims.Estimates of twenty to forty thousand inter -tribal deaths during the musket wars, isn't that worse ? The entire history of Maori pre European wasn't noble as raids taking land, killing and cannibalism was the norm. Many Maori fought with the British so how pure is the situation not to mention widespread intermarriage. History best left there I think. We have all moved on so stop wasting time , we are not honouring Greerton, neither should we , but a lot of Maori leaders should be treated the same if so.

Change of constitution as well

Posted on 05-05-2021 11:51 | By Johnney

The PM is all for changing our constitution and divide a nation with a separate Maori upper house. Why was this not in her election manifesto.


Posted on 05-05-2021 12:42 | By morepork

Most of us will have some aspect of History that we really don't like. But you don't "fix" History by erasing it. Colonel Greer has never had a fair trial for alleged War Crimes and none of us were at the battle. At the time Greerton was named, nobody seemed to object... You can't posthumously convict someone on the basis of hearsay, even if it is true. Whether he did what is alleged or not, he figured in the History of our city and the name "Greerton" simply marks that. Our country has a good mix of Maori and non-Maori names; it is as it should be. We all need to get over our history and look to the future, not the past. With the death of Democracy that we are currently undergoing, I guess there is no chance for a Greerton residents' referendum?

Roundabout picture

Posted on 05-05-2021 14:30 | By Kancho

Interesting a rare picture of Greerton roundabout not jammed up in all directions because a person crosses the road huh. Often no one can move in all four roads because of the stupid design. Reinstate it to how it was when two lanes worked , traffic flowed , pedestrians crossed in a sensible place. Guess that's never going to happen , never admit a mistake. Spend another 45 million

Sorry Tommy

Posted on 05-05-2021 16:02 | By usandthem

There is no gravitation to calling Mt Maunganui,Mauao.Mauao is the name of the mountain,Mt Maunganui is the name of the suburb.

Lost one, won one,

Posted on 05-05-2021 16:06 | By R. Bell

hardly a record to be proud of, then again the British have always had a talent for turning defeat into victory. Tommy has it right Taratoa or Noel Pope both had deep connections to " Greerton " which Greer never lived in and is not a town in anyway you crack it. Mind you, if you can name a mountain after an English lord who never even visited N.z anything is possible. Naming anything after an officer who brutally flogged his men is tantamount to idiocy. Toss up between Taratoa or Noel, Taratoa sounds good but Popesville or Popeston mmm! not so good.

Andrew64 It's called

Posted on 05-05-2021 16:48 | By R. Bell

swings and roundabouts. Maori were denied justice for over a hundred years, that's a long time and a lot of ground to make up. You call it race based, perhaps you can inform us, just what interaction between Maori and Pakeha is NOT race based. Drop it Andrew or you will become very frustrated.

Tom Ranger

Posted on 05-05-2021 17:14 | By Tom Ranger

I think of it like the idea of changing the NZ flag. I want the Union Jack on our flag. So we cannot forget that Britain once invaded New Zealand. Leave Greerton and Cameron. Publicize both sides of the story on memorials so we and our kids can learn about our history, avoid making the same mistakes(on both sides). I think It will help us all accept what's happened. Which makes us by succession who we all are as NZ'rs.

@ Andrew64

Posted on 06-05-2021 08:07 | By Yadick

No it certainly isn't just you. The majority of NZers are over it. We're supposed to be one country under one flag and this separatism is out of control.I don't give a toss if your Chinese, Russian, Maori, Pakeha, Asian . . . we can all live together in harmony without trying to live in the past. As you say, let sleeping dogs lie. I know Robyn will totally disagree and will probably stoop to making fun of my name again, but that's what one does when trying to act big.


Posted on 06-05-2021 16:18 | By R. Bell

I suppose you are a little self conscious but hey what's in a name anyway. What you seem to forget is that you cannot compare the Maori people to other ethnic groups. They have a contract, you may not like it but until they and only they decide to nullify that contract it stands. Berating them at every turn simply makes matters worse for you and people like Andrew. I know you can't help it but honoring a contract is more important than the short term joy of insulting Maori names, especially those that have significant historical importance to those that have lived here for almost a thousand years.

@ R. Bell

Posted on 07-05-2021 08:42 | By Yadick

Amazing the holes you dig for yourself isn't it. You begin your comment to me with 'what's in a name anyway' referring it's only a name. Further down you refer to (our) 'short term joy of insulting Maori names'. Neither Andrew, myself or any other commentor here has to my knowledge insulted Maori names or for that matter derived any joy from such self-belittling actions. A week or so ago you agreed that if 'pakeha' cannot pronounce Maori language correctly then we should not attempt to speak it. Interesting, how do we learn it then because according to you, we don't. For your information and to correct YOUR insult my name is pronounced Yad eeck. I am happy for you to practice without insult and accept you will get it wrong because that is how you learn. By the way a contract is between 2 or more (peoples) not 1.

Last from me

Posted on 07-05-2021 15:49 | By R. Bell

yadick, as you have taken us way off subject and it's all trending away fast. I'm a stickler for facts, which does annoy some. Fact 1. I have never insulted the name yadick, I simply said "great name" you decided that to be an insult, in fact it was an attempt at humour. My name has come in for much insult in these columns, from ding dong to ting-aling you name it, maybe that's why you claim I make so many clangers, who knows. I did research the name yadick those sites that give audio all pronounce it as it's spelled ya- dick. Remember yadick, Ah- eh- eee -orr- oo as in too. you can pronounce Maori words correctly it's easy, once you get your head right.

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