Britnee Leysen

From the River Clyde to the Clutha River: Scottish Influence on Otago Place-naming

Place-names in the Otago region of New Zealand offer insight to the development of this Free Church of Scotland settlement. Some of the most valuable resources we have about the early settlement of this region come from sources of personal memory, particularly in the Clutha District where settlement was typically of a more permanent nature than further inland. This paper will focus primarily on the narrative of Scottish emigration in the Clutha district through the voice of families that either passed through during the years of early settlement, or who chose to make the district home and witnessed the growth of the area. By applying Stefan Brink’s classification of transferred names, this paper will examine place-naming motivation, seeking to discern the difference between what these Clutha place-names evoke, and what they represent, if anything. In addition, this paper will employ Laura Kostanski’s framework on place identity to understand sentiment attached to names in the Clutha district, considering these names in relation to history/memory, community, emotions, and actions/events. By utilising methodology known in socio-onomastics, toponymic competence surrounding settlement names is evaluated, and anthropological methods dealing with qualitative data are employed, to address the aims of this paper.

Brittnee Leysen, University of Glasgow, Scotland