The Whakatāne District Council is considering a request to rename all or part of Short Street in Whakatāne as Gwenda Ruegg Lane, to honour her significant contribution to the town’s swimming club and youth swimming generally.

Council Community Services General Manager Mike Naude says a report is being prepared for consideration by Council elected members, but despite an extensive research effort, no information has been found to explain the street’s existing name.

“We would really like to understand how the Short Street name came into existence, because that could provide information relevant to the renaming decision,” he says. “It may have been named after someone, or it could simply be completely literal, reflecting the fact that that it is a short street.

“Council records don’t shed any light on the matter and nor does Archives NZ have any useful information, so we’d like to tap into the community knowledge well to see if someone can fill in the blanks.”

The renaming initiative has been put forward by the Whakatāne-Ōhope Community Board, following a request that the late-Gwenda Ruegg’s contributions to swimming, and to Theatre Whakatāne, be recognised. Anyone with information about the derivation of Short Street is asked to contact Mike Naude (tel. 306 0500; email:

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