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Honouring heroes with new street names


April 2022


The passion and aroha of eight Flaxmere heroes no longer with us will be forever remembered with the new streets in Flaxmere named after them.


The names were suggested by Flaxmere community members and councillors, with the theme of:

‘Flaxmere heroes who have passed on’. All had featured in the Flaxmere-famous Flaxmere Heroes calendar in the 11 years that it was published.

Flaxmere Planning Committee spokesman Traci Tuimaseve said the committee was rapt at the news. “It is a wonderful way to remember these incredible people who have given so much to Flaxmere.”

Flaxmere councillor Henare O’Keefe, whose late wife Pam is among those having a street named for them, said using street names that had a real connection with Flaxmere would help people relate. “It’s part of building Flaxmere from the inside out – rather than importing names from somewhere else, we’re naming our streets for the people of Flaxmere.

“Whenever we’re driving down there, we won’t be able to help but remember all of the wonderful contributions these people made to our beloved Pāharakeke.”

He was not sure Pam would have been thrilled at the idea of having a street named for her. “I know she would have said: ‘Oh, they should have picked so-and-so; they’re so much more deserving than me’.

She really didn’t like the limelight much. I’m glad though; without her I would never have achieved any of things I have – she was a driving force in Flaxmere, both in our home and even more so in the wider community.”

Ken Kibblewhite was one of the very first residents of the suburb, developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s. His passion and advocacy for Flaxmere were legendary. During his time on the Flaxmere Licensing Trust, he ensured that projects across Pāharakeke received much needed funding. During his tenure more than $8 million was donated to projects in education, health and welfare, community development, and recreation and sport.

Jacob Poulain arrived in New Zealand in 1964 from his homeland Holland. With wife Keriana he moved to Flaxmere in 1976 and became a fierce defender and supporter of what was then a very new suburb. Known for his “humble and gentle heart”, he was heavily involved in Age Concern, a member of the Flaxmere Licensing Trust for 11 years, and a foundation member and Patron of Te Aranga Marae.

Samoan community stalwart Tuivaiti Fetaiaimauso Tuivaiti was determined to strengthen community bonds. He gifted his organisational and communication strengths to the community, organising sporting and church events. His annual Kilikiti and volleyball tournaments, drawing the Samoan community from across Hawke’s Bay, were legendary.

Des Ratima bought his first family home in Flaxmere as a young married man. While his career as an electrician in the New Zealand Army took him away for long periods of time, he was a staunch advocate for Flaxmere, his home town of Whakatū, and wider Hawke’s Bay. On moving back to Whakatū following retirement from the army

he threw himself into a vast range of projects

and causes benefitting his community. He was passionate about sharing Māori tikanga, was

a staunch defender of the underdog, and was committed to improving educational and health outcomes for Māori.

“Mother of Flaxmere” Pam O’Keefe had so much aroha to share, she and husband Henare fostered more than 200 children alongside raising their own four. Her commitment to her community saw her spend countless hours at Te Aranga Marae, at the community gardens, and travelling the streets with Tunu Tunu, the community barbecue she and Henare used to bring people together.

Tama Huata, the man behind the Kahurangi Māori Dance Theatre, was a trailblazer for Māori arts and culture. The theatre continues to be a world-class vehicle that shares our traditional culture around the world. His intense passion also saw him establish both the trust that would become Te Wānanga Whare Tapere o Takitimu, and the Taikura Kaumatua programme while chair of Te Matatini. He was instrumental in the development of Ngā Pou o Heretanga in Civic Square in Hastings, led the team that brought Te Matatini to Hastings in 2017, and founded the National Waiata Māori Music Awards.

Master carver Haami Moeke was a master carver, teacher, role model and “go-to man” for many marae – often volunteering his exceptional carving skills. Among his very many renowned projects locally are the carvings at Te Aranga Marae, EIT, and Napier’s Pukimokimoki.


THE NAMES OF THE STREETS:

Kibblewhite Road, for Ken Kibblewhite

Poulain Way, for Jacob Poulain

Tuivaiti Street, for Tuivaiti Fetaiaimauso Tuivaiti

Ratima Avenue, for Des Ratima

Pam O’Keefe Avenue, for Pam O’Keefe

Te Ara Moeke, for Haami Moeke

Te Ara Huata, for Tama Huata

Whakaruru Avenue, for Steve Whakaruru

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