Sunday, April 28, 2013

Thames (NZ): The story of Ngarimu Bay

The original name of the bay was Ō-Tohi. At the end of WWII the European settlers of this new community were looking for a name acceptable to all. Lieutenant Te Moananui-a-Kiwa Ngārimu of Ngāti Porou was “awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross.” The residents got the approval of his parents to name the bay after their son to commemorate his bravery.

The Maori Television Channel had a programme on Ngārimu VC -- if you missed it, take the time to find about the man behind the name of our popular Thames Coast bay.   Te Moananui-a-Kiwa Ngārimu from ‘C’ Company, 28th Māori Battalion, was killed in action in North Africa and was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross – this is his story.

Te Moananui-a-Kiwa Ngarimu, c1940

The Treasury at Thames has an oral history recording by Mr Toss HAMMOND MBE, who tells the story of the naming of the bay..a snippet follows:
..."So one day Mrs Young, the wife of  Mr John Young who was on the committee, she came to me and said “I have an idea about naming that domain. What about calling the thing Ngarimu Domain? There’s that young fellow Ngarimu Te Moana-Nui-A-Kiwa that’s just been awarded the first Victoria Cross that’s been awarded to a Maori. What about naming it after him?”
Mr Hammond goes on to explain the process that was involved and the contact with the relatives. The rest is history - now we know the place as Ngarimu Bay, but let us not forget the man and the story behind the naming of the bay.