The name Manurewa is an abbreviation of its earlier form in Maori Legend;

‘Te Manu Rewa o Tama Pahore’ the drifted away kite of Tama Pahore.

Maori words ‘manu’ meaning bird or kite, ‘rewa’ meaning floating or soaring.

History shows stories supporting both potential meanings relevant to the name, ‘Soaring Bird’ and ‘Drifting Kite’, however it is not a kite but a flying bird that Manurewa has adopted as its symbol.

The interpretation of Manurewa as ‘flying bird’ was taken up in the 1920s by an early Manurewa resident, Mr Enos S. Pegler. Mr Pegler, accompanying a team of bowlers from Manurewa to England, commissioned a London artist to incorporate the Maori traditions of the name in a badge. This task was ably carried out by R.A.Miles of London, who produced 144 badges incorporating the now familiar flying bird design, cast in enamel with gold facings surrounded by a dark blue ribbon ( the sea) and inscribed with the Latin words ‘Per Ardua Ad Astra” and ‘Manurewa’

 

The badges were forwarded by parcel post in the 12,160-ton s.s. Wiltshire. This ship was wrecked on the southeast tip of Great Barrier Island on 8 June 1922. Luckily, however, some of the mail was washed up and, though sodden with seawater, the badges were eventually delivered to Mr Pegler undamaged. They were then presented to officials of the Manurewa Town Board, the Manurewa School Committee, senior pupils of the school, and postal officials. Members were so pleased with the design that they adopted it as Manurewa’s official sign and seal, passing a resolution to that effect. As far as can be ascertained this resolution has never been rescinded. The emblem was subsequently adopted by many local organisations, including the Manurewa Business Association, and by many sports clubs, such as the Manurewa cricket, tennis, bowling and croquet clubs.

Photo and information compiled by Maryanne Walker, Manurewa Historical Society.  Badge interpretation an excerpt from ‘Soaring Bird’ A History of Manurewa to 1965 by Gwen Wichman, Manurewa Historical Society 2001.

References to ‘Drifting Kite’ and Maori legend; A.E.Tonson, ‘Old Manukau’ 1966; George Samuel Graham (1874-1952) ‘Nga Matukurua: The Two Bitterns’ A tale of Manurewa, reproduced in appendix one ‘Soaring Birds’