Macrons bring longer vowels to Kapiti

Kapiti Coast District Council is adding macrons to some of its place names, a move that has drawn criticism from at least one resident.

At a meeting last year between Kapiti Coast District Council and its iwi partner, Te Whakaminenga o Kapiti, it was decided that macrons would be added to the o in Otaki, the a's in Paekakariki, and the a in Kapiti, to aid pronunciation, said council chief executive Pat Dougherty.

A macron, which is a horizontal line above a vowel, indicates the vowel pronunciation should be lengthened.

Mr Dougherty said during the next 20 years, macrons would be added to council signs, buildings, cars and documents. It would happen "very, very slowly" and there would be no cost to ratepayers, he said.

"There is no extra budget for this work."

When council cars or signs needed replacing, the council would change the signs and add macrons.

Mayor Jenny Rowan said Kapiti's discussion was "not a Wanganui discussion"  referring to the "h" debate.
Macrons on council documents were introduced six months ago, she said.

Anything to help better pronunciation of Maori words was a "very good idea".

But Paraparaumu man, Martin Warriner is not happy with the macrons.

The council had not consulted ratepayers, and had no mandate to make the change, he said.

It "blew my top last week", he said, after seeing a council brochure which had council's logo with a macron on Kapiti.

Mr Warriner said he had lived on the Coast since 1985, and in that time Kapiti had never been spelt with a macron.

"In all my research, Kapiti is not spelt with a macron," he said.

A spokesperson for the Maori Language Commission said there was no evidence to suggest that Kapiti was ever spelt with a macron. However, local iwi could have variations.

Kapiti Observer