ST PAUL St Gallery: The Name
ST PAUL St Gallery sits on the ridge known as Rangipuke that runs down to Rerenga-ora-iti (later Point Britomart), once the site of the pā Tangihanga Pukeā. The name Rerenga-ora-iti can be translated as ‘the leap of the survivors’, commemorating the capture of that pā by Kawharu of Kaipara and the beginning of Ngāti Whātua occupation in the region in the 17th century.
Ngāti Whātua held mana whenua into colonial times, and in 1840 made available 3 000 acres (1 214 hectares) of what is now central Auckland to the Crown for cash and goods worth £341. Six months later 44 acres (17 hectares) were sold by the Crown at public auction for £24 275. The rest was mostly sold by 1842 for a total of over £72 000.
Before European arrival two other pā were sited here, Te Reuroa near the present High Court, and Te Horotiu in the north-western corner of Albert Park. All had ready access to the natural spring Te Wai Ariki (‘chiefly waters’) located in the current The University of Auckland Faculty of Law grounds.
Taniwha often inhabit swampy locations, and in these waterways lives Horotiu, a Tainui name also claimed by Ngāti Whātua. Wai Horotiu was a stream that ran down present day Queen Street and flowed into the bay Horotiu (later Commercial Bay). The AUT University marae revives this awareness through its name Ngā Wai o Horotiu. In 1840 settlers renamed Wai Horotiu the Ligar canal after the engineer C.W. Ligar. It was commonly known as Ligar’s Folly, due to the structure’s inability to tame the flow from Auckland’s seasonal rains. It later became a sewer canal, and finally disappeared from view altogether, with the water and the taniwha now moving under the streets of the CBD.
The site of the first St Paul’s church in Auckland was in Emily Place, close to Te Wai Ariki. Governor Hobson on 28 July 1841 laid the first stone, having promised a Treasury grant of £1 500, funds largely raised from the Ngāti Whātua land deals. In 1894 the church site was moved to its present location near St Paul Street, eventually lending a new name to what until the 1920s was Abercrombie Street.
Like many in the former British Empire, St Paul’s church takes its name from the New Testament author. Born a Jew, Saul of Tarsus had the Latin name Paul in addition to his Hebrew one and inherited Roman Citizenship through his father. Growing up in a Pharisee environment Saul had been the more expedient name to carry, but upon conversion to Christianity (after the Damascus road experience, variously interpreted as epiphany or heatstroke), he became known as Paul since it was a name to which the Gentiles he wanted to convert were accustomed.
Taking its name from the street as it is currently named, ST PAUL St Gallery Two stands on the footprint of a building that was used as a brothel in the mid-20th century. The movement of the Auckland Society of the Arts (ASA) from its original location (also near Te Wai Ariki in Eden Cresent) to Ponsonby, and the subsequent acquisition by AUT University of the ASA’s Bachelor of Visual Arts programme led to the expansion of the School of Art + Design and the subsequent construction of the WM Building at 40 St Paul St. Discussions about the name for the gallery proposed for the new building were documented in a meeting on 24 July 2004. While some senior AUT University staff felt that the gallery should carry the AUT brand, the name ‘ST PAUL St’ was chosen over various variations [SPS, etc.] and alternatives such as ‘Large Glass’ and ‘Article’.
- Local Time, May 2012.