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July 17, 2017 | by  | in News |
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Boyd Wilson Walkway Set to be Renamed

The Boyd Wilson Walkway is set to be renamed Kake Tonu Way, as part of a community effort to reclaim the space.

The set of stairs, spanning from the Boyd Wilson Field outside Te Puni Hall down to the Terrace, has gained significant attention after a number of assaults took place in the area. The walkway has come to be colloquially called “rape alley” by some VUW students, and is avoided by many pedestrians due to its notoriety.

In 2014, there were numerous reports of women being followed and assaulted on the walkway, and a woman was chased and assaulted by a man wearing a balaclava on the walkway in January 2017.

On June 21, the Wellington City Council voted to rename the walkway Kake Tonu Way. Kake tonu means “ever upwards” in te reo Māori, and the choice was inspired by the nearby Te Aro Primary School, for which Kake Tonu is the school proverb.

The renaming is part of a range of initiatives in the area aimed at improving visibility and making the space more welcoming for thoroughfare. In addition to the new name, CCTV and better lighting have been installed, maintenance has been increased, and earthworks will be taking place to increase visibility.

VUWSA President Rory Lenihan-Ikin said that being a part of the project had been an “enriching” experience, and that it would “breathe new life into the walkway.”

“Hopefully it will be part of a culture change around assaults.”

Director of VUW Student and Campus Living, Rainsforth Dix, told Salient “we are extremely conscious of student safety and we expect these measures to have a positive impact.”

Olivia, a VUW student, told Salient that although it was good to see the Council making a conscious effort to improve safety, it will “take more than just a name change to make the path somewhere I’ll feel comfortable walking alone at night.”

“I guess the change needed is less about that path specifically and more about addressing rape culture and the attitudes people hold on it.”

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