Blenheim – time for a change?


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A name change is needed for Blenheim according to a report by News Hub, although they cited only two supporters for the idea: Josh Scott, winemaking consultant to Allan Scott Wines (tastings) and Mitchell Gardiner, sales manager of Allan Scott Wines.

‘Marlborough’ was the suggested alternative. The region is already well-known internationally, at least by wine buffs, while Blenheim simply doesn’t ring too many bells.

The local mayor, Alistair Sowman, was fairly ambivalent about the change. He wondered whether locals would support such a move or if Blenheim is big enough to call itself a city. When I registered my vote to make a change at News Hub’s online poll the score so far was 40% in favour of change and 60% against.

Blenheim has already been through a name change once before in 1859 when it changed its name from the original ‘The Beaver’ (also known as Beaver Town or Beaverton) because of frequent floods in the area. Perhaps a “Back to Beaver” campaign will lobby in favour of re-christening to the original town name. Then again, perhaps not.

Before considering something as cosmetic as a name change, Blenheim needs to give itself a bit of a face-lift according to a French wine critic who had just toured all New Zealand wine regions. When I asked him what he thought of Blenheim, he shuddered and said, “It looks like something out of zee Prisoner.”

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