Proposed update of Tamaterau Reserve name

Published on 21 September 2022

Photo showing picnic tables by the stream and beach at Tamaterau.

The pohutukawa-fringed bay of Tamaterau has been undergoing a series of upgrade projects and now a renaming of the reserve is also being considered.

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Today a popular spot for swimming and picnicking, the beach and reserve also has a rich cultural history dating back 700-800 years.

“We applied for and won Tourism Infrastructure funding to upgrade the two car parks with safety improvements, native plantings, and signage outlining the historic importance of the site, which was once a large active kāinga (village) and tauranga waka (moorage) until the mid-1800s,” says Council Manager Infrastructure Programmes Shelley Wharton.

While carrying out community consultation as part of this work requests were received to rename the Devonshire Park – Tamaterau Recreation Reserve as Te Whenua Tāpui o Tamaterau.

The reserve has had several name changes over the years. In 1928 it was named Tamaterau Domain before being classified as a recreation reserve in 1953 and renamed as Tamaterau Domain Recreation Reserve.

In 1980, its name was changed to the current name in recognition of Charlie Devonshire, a local teacher who played a role in ecologically restoring the reserve. In 2003, the reserve was vested to Whangarei District Council.

During talks with the community and representatives of the local hapū it was requested that the park be renamed as “Te Whenua Tāpui o Tamaterau” – which translates to Tamaterau Reserve.

“Kaumātua and members of the local hapū have now offered a name change as "Te Whenua Tāpui o Tamaterau", which translates to Tamaterau Reserve. They feel the name will encompass the wider history of the area, and highlight the rich cultural history of the site, inclusive of the efforts made by Mr Devonshire," says Mrs Wharton.

Mr Devonshire will continue to be remembered in the name of the track which runs from Tamaterau Hall to Scott Road with new signage at both ends. Two Devonshire family memorial plaques will be moved and reinstalled onto the backrest of a new park bench next to the hall.

Mrs Wharton says Council now wants to consult with the wider community to see what they think about the proposed name change.