Kuripuni was the personal name of a Ngati Kahungunu ancestor. It is unclear how the name came about, however, as it has a number of potential meanings. ‘Kuri’ means dog, and ‘puni’ can mean camp, so some claim the name means ‘dog camp’, but the word also means closed up, so others say the word Kuripuni means ‘closed up dog’. Keith Cairns, local historian brought up in the area, stated that it could have meant a stream blocked by the carcass of a dog.
It is certain that the local population of Kuripuni was not always happy about the connotations, and at various times they tried to have the name changed.
Kuripuni Street was gazetted for change at a meeting of the Masterton Borough Council Street Naming Committee held on 11 December, 1905. At this meeting, which changed the names of a number of streets, it was decided that Kuripuni Street should be Heron Street, after previous mayor George Heron.
The move was not followed up, and the street remained Kuripuni Street.
Not so Kuripuni Railway Station. The station name was changed shortly afterward to Potaerau, before being finally changed to Solway. In the same era there was a strong call to rename the Kuripuni area as Masterton South.
Pic: Kuri - Maori dogs - died out shortly after the arrival of pakeha.