What’s in a name? A whole story, actually! – Māori library names

What’s in a name? A whole story, actually! Every library in the Christchurch City Libraries network is named in both English and Māori, and with two new libraries (or rather, libraries returning in sparkly new form) popping up recently, we’d like to share a bit about their Māori names.

Matuku Takotako: Sumner Centre, from Nayland St
Matuku Takotako: Sumner Centre, from Nayland St. Flickr Sumner-2017-08-19-community-3_6

Our libraries' Māori names tell some great stories about their areas. For instance Matuku Takotako: Sumner Centre has been given the original Ngāi Tahu name for Sumner Beach. Literally referencing the upright posture of bitterns, it also reflects the community and local iwi identity and recalls a Polynesian tradition associated with Tawhaki, who is said to have ascended to the heavens in the pursuit of knowledge - very appropriate for a library!

Ōrauwhata: Bishopdale Library and Community Centre means “the place of the multitude of eels” and recalls the area before it was planted and developed by the Bishop family in the 19th century. At this time whata (eels) swam in overflow water basins formed during flooding from the Waimairi River.

Curious about your local library's Māori name? You can find our all about it on our Māori Library Names page (and listen to sound files of the pronunciations too). While you’re exploring, why now check out our Te Wiki o te Reo Māori page too? Or view the video below showing some Māori place names in and around Ōtautahi.

Kōrerorero mai - Join the conversation.

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