Hamilton City Council has released an independent report examining culturally sensitive place names and sites in the city.
The $10,000 report from historian Dr Vincent O’Malley was commissioned by the previous Council in September last year, jointly funded by Waikato-Tainui and Hamilton City Council.
The report was finalised today and is being released immediately.
Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate said council has been working collaboratively with Waikato-Tainui for more than 12 months on a wider project to review culturally sensitive place names and sites. The report was one step in an important, ongoing conversation, she said.
“The O’Malley report aims to provide a common, factual understanding of Hamilton’s history. Unless we have that understanding as a community, we cannot have the kind of conversations we need to have to move forward in a constructive way.”
“Personally, I have learned some things reading the report and I suspect many others will too. It wasn’t always a comfortable read but it means we can have dialogue that is better informed and surely that is a positive thing.”
Waikato-Tainui Chair Rukumoana Schaafhausen says Waikato-Tainui has always advocated for a clearer view of the history of Kirikiriroa because of the intergenerational trauma inflicted on its people and landscape.
“This is an opportunity to reflect on how we might recognise a much more accurate view of our historical journey. Waikato-Tainui is looking forward to the courageous discussion ahead. This is not about cleansing the colonial footprint from our traditional boundaries but recognising that history in other more appropriate contexts.”
The report makes no recommendation on Hamilton street names or other issues. It is a summary of historical information, brought together in one place. Council and other stakeholders are now discussing what the process will be going forward to encourage a wider, city conversation about cultural issues.