The name has been gifted to Christchurch City Council by Ngāi Tūāhuriri and is consistent with the traditional practice of whakahaumanu te papatupu (restoring the customary title to the land beneath the building).
“Ōmōkihi was the name of an old kaika (settlement), possibly a nohoka/nohonga (seasonal occupation site) where mogi/mōkihi rested during their journey to wakawaka (harvesting areas) and/or Pā or other kaika,” said Tania Wati, who is a representative for Ngāi Tūāhuriri.
“The modern context is that we are all on a journey and this is a place to rest on that journey.
“Symbolically the name means a collective space where all are welcome. Thus we propose the name Ōmōkihi,” Wati said.
The Waihoro Spreydon-Cashmere-Heathcote Community Board will be asked to formally accept the name on behalf of the council at its meeting next week.
Board chair Callum Ward said it’s important to have a meaningful name for this new facility, which highlights the significant connection to the site on the banks of the Ōpāwaho Heathcote River.
The old facility was badly damaged in the 2011 earthquake and, while it has been temporarily strengthened and is safe to occupy, it is experiencing issues with things such as heating and weather tightness.
In October, councillors approved a new $32 million facility to be rebuilt at the riverside site on Colombo St.
Concept designs have been developed with input from the community and includes a library, customer services, a learning centre, café, governance spaces and meeting rooms.
“We are very pleased to have received the name Ōmōkihi for our renewed facility. It is a name that captures the historic significance of the area and connects the facility with the river in particular,” Ward said.
“We are hugely grateful to Ngāi Tūāhuriri for the gifting of this name. For a facility that is so much more than just a library in the south of the city, we welcome a name that also has a broader and deeper meaning.”
A timeline for construction and costs will be confirmed following the Long Term Plan process.