Mt Egmont name to “finally” be scrapped - Taranaki Maunga

By Kereama Wright

The dual legal name for Mt Egmont, Mt Taranaki will change. Next year, the name Mt Egmont is going to be scrapped and the mountain will retain only its Māori name Taranaki Maunga. 

Ngā Iwi o Taranaki (Eight tribes of Taranaki) have reached agreement with the Crown that their tupuna maunga should simply be known as Taranaki Maunga, and not by the dual name of Mt Egmont, Mt Taranaki which has been in official use since 1986. 

Ngā Iwi o Taranaki spokesperson Jamie Tuuta says all the names associated with Taranaki Maunga will have Māori names under the new legislation, and the name of the national park will be Te Papakura o Taranaki.

Hemi Sundgren of Te Kotahitanga o Te Ātiawa Trust says this is about acknowledging our ancestor and restoring our ancestor's names, it’s not about trampling on him.  “This has long since been the wishes of our old people since the 1970s, our elders have wanted to restore our ancestor's name and remove Egmont, return his true identity in his own right.”

In March 2017, Ngā Iwi o Taranaki and the Crown signed terms of negotiation in relation to the maunga.

Later that year on 20 December 2017, the Crown and Ngā Iwi o Taranaki signed a Record of Understanding that outlined the broad terms, including repealing the Mount Egmont Vesting Act and giving legal personality to Taranaki Maunga.  Also included was an agreement to develop a proposal to change the name of Egmont National Park to Te Papakura o Taranaki and other geographical features.

The Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Andrew Little had this to say back then, “This is a great day for the people of Taranaki. As a New Plymouth local, I grew up under the gaze of the maunga so I’m particularly pleased with the respect accorded to local tangata whenua and the legal protection and personality given to the mountain.”

Ruta Broughton of Ngā Rauru Kītahi says Taranaki Maunga was always our ancestor Taranaki and should be recognised as such and finally that other name will be scrapped.  “If you look at the Whanganui river, te awa tupua, has a legal personality, us Māori understand our environment best.”

Today's announcement from Ngā Iwi o Taranaki is a step closer to upholding the mana of Ngā Maunga and recognising the traditional tikanga-Māori relationship between Taranaki iwi and their Maunga. 

The eight tribes which make up Ngā Iwi o Taranaki are Ngā Rauru Kītahi, Ngāti Ruanui, Ngāruahine, Taranaki Iwi, Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Mutunga, Ngāti Tama and Ngāti Maru.