Petone, a suburb in Wellington’s Hutt Valley, may undergo a name change to Pito-one, following the Hutt City Council’s supportive vote for a proposal brought by several iwi groups. The move aims to restore the original Māori name of the area, addressing historical injustices.
The current name, Petone, is considered a misspelling and mispronunciation of the original Māori name, Pito-one, which comes from the local beach and holds cultural significance for the Te Āti Awa iwi. Mayor Campbell Barry highlighted the council’s role in making decisions that impact future generations and acknowledged the importance of correcting historic naming discrepancies.
Liz Mellish, chair of the Palmerston North Māori Reserve Trust and a Te Āti Awa representative, has advocated for the name change for years. The proposal reflects a small but significant step toward educating the community about its cultural roots.
If approved by the Geographic Board, Pito-one will reclaim its historical name, emphasizing the increasing recognition of Māori culture and language in New Zealand. Local residents expressed support for the change, aligning with broader trends of acknowledging and embracing Māori names in towns and cities.