How Tauranga’s new streets get their name

In a new part of Papamoa East, there is a road where the offshoot streets on one side are named after Maori weapons and, on the other, weapons used by European settlers.

“That’s a battle scene, that one,” said Daryl Edgecombe wryly.

He came up with the names to reflect one of his great interests.

“I’m a bit of a buff on weapons, so I thought, why not?”

Mr Edgecombe is not a historian or marketer. He does not work for the council or a development company. He has no particular connection to the land in question.

He’s an engineer.

He works for surveying company S&L Consulting and is contracted to help lay out some of Tauranga’s biggest developments, including Golden Sands in Papamoa East.

Of the 161 new streets built in Tauranga’s spreading suburbs in the past five years, Mr Edgecombe and his team have been responsible for bestowing names on a fair few.

It was not an easy part of the job, Mr Edgecombe said. There were a lot of rules to navigate and you can never please everyone.

Tauranga City Council’s policy includes no duplicates, no sound-alikes, short, easy to spell and pronounce.

The council prefers names that reflect the identity of Tauranga; its historical significance; Maori cultural significance; dead people of historical importance; and events, people and places of international significance to the city.

Names must also fit Land Information New Zealand’s rules for what can be called a street or a road; a lane or a crescent and so on.

“You can’t just call something a mall because you want to,” Mr Edgecombe said.

Rules in mind, Mr Edgecombe usually starts with two things: a theme and a Google search.

For one stage they used tree names, for another soldiers killed in the Battle of Gate Pa. Soldiers killed in the world wars are memorialised too.

He started using names of former All Blacks from the Bay but ran into tricky territory with the rugby union and players’ families, so only a couple – Batty St (Grant Batty) and Cupples St (Les Cupples), got over the line.

Looking for fresh ideas, he approached a local iwi, Waitaha, for their input.

They came back with kupu (words) from that reflected the area: ‘oka’ for orca, a sign of good fortune; ‘piata’ or ‘wheriko’ relating to glistening sands and waterways; ‘naeo’ for a rock shell found in Papamoa middens and ‘te kio’ for the name of a small village that existed in the area. All streets where people now live in Golden Sands.

Recently he made plans for two special streets.

Respected property developer Bill Miller died last year. The chief executive of Bluehaven Management had led the Golden Sands development for years.

“So there will be one street named for Bill Miller, and a Monaro Way, because Bill used to drive around town in an orange Monaro,” Mr Edgecombe said.

They hoped to build a park and playground on Bill’s street, so the respected developer’s grandchildren could visit it.

Tauranga’s new roads

– 161 residential roads built in the past 5 years
– 37km of tarseal laid
– One third of new roads were in Papamoa East
– Most roads built in 2015, with 41
– Fewest roads built in 2014, with 17