12 Jun 2012

Otago Settlers Museum to get Maori name

7:58 pm on 12 June 2012

Dunedin's Otago Settlers Museum looks set to have a Maori name added to its title, despite some opposition.

A city council committee has recommended the institution become known as Toitu Otago Settlers Museum following its $39 million dollar revamp.

The council's community development committee heard on Monday that a public naming competition for the museum returned the old name, Otago Settlers Museum, as easily the most popular.

But the museum's board asked for support to add local Ngai Tahu name Toitu which it said means, among other things, to be preserved pure and hold onto things forever.

Toitu is the name of the stream which ran down into the harbour where the museum now stands.

Several councillors objected, saying the name was being added without public debate.

But museum board chairwoman Dorothy Page said Maori were New Zealand's first settlers and the museum is not just for red-headed Scots who came after 1848.