Board bows to public over name choice for reserve

The Fiordland Community Board will officially name a Te Anau park Fergus Square Park after a long debate on the issue.

In 2018, the board decided to name the reserve in the town’s Fergus Square in honour of long-serving Southland mayor Frana Cardno.

Three totems dedicated to Mrs Cardno were put into the reserve but last year, when Southland Mayor Gary Tong was preparing to unveil the memorial to Mrs Cardno, part of the community expressed opposition.

A survey was conducted and of the 321 responses, 69 wished it to be named Cardno Reserve, 199 wanted it named Fergus Square Park and 53 wanted something else.

Given the strong support for the reserve to be named Fergus Square Park, the Fiordland Community Board requested advice on the process for formally naming the reserve that.

Community board chairwoman Sarah Greney said the board was now in a position to do so.

She said the debate was never about the homage and confirmed the memorial would continue in the park.

"This report returned to the board because we need to formally possess the name. It is a formality," she said.

"The discussions were never about those [totems.] They will remain in the site."

Southland Mayor Gary Tong was pleased the board had listened to its community.

"This what the community has asked for and the community board listened," he said.

He was unaware if the unveiling ceremony would still take place.

"I haven’t heard any word about that, but it is for the community board to make that decision."

Mr Tong said Mrs Cardno was his inspiration to stand for the mayoralty.

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