How Upper Riccarton Library got its name – Te Kete Wānanga o Pūtaringamotu ‘Place of an echo’

Te Kete Wānanga o Pūtaringamotu (Pu-ta-ring-a-mau-too), honours the library’s link to our city’s oldest treasure.

Pūtaringamotu is also the name of Dean’s Bush, a bush area created when a great fire swept across the Canterbury Plains (Ngā Pakihi whakatekateka o Waitaha). It was the site of one of the many settlements Māori established in the maze of swamps, waterways and lagoons lying between Lake Ellesmere (Waihora) and the Waimakariri River. By the early 1800s it was occupied by the Ngāi Tuahuriri, a sub-tribe of Ngāi Tahu.

One of its translations is ‘place of an echo’ as Māori believed that at a certain place in the forest, those trained and skilled in the practice could hear the sound of people approaching on the trails through the surrounding swamp by putting an ear to the ground.

The area was later settled by Canterbury’s earliest European pioneers, the Deans family. It is therefore a very important and significant piece of land for both Māori and Pakeha and a name that reflects the treasures that the new building will offer its community.

It is Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori – Māori Language Week and this year’s theme is Ngā ingoa Māori – Māori names – so we are bringing you some of the stories behind the Māori names of our libraries.