Wanganui spelling change slammed

BY KELLY BURNS
Last updated 13:15 30/03/2009

Relevant offers

Politics

'I can't disagree strongly enough with the perception of too many migrants' Pay Equity Bill creates new hurdles for women to get fair pay, union says PM: Winston Peters looking for attention with race-based attacks on reporters Budget will bump up NZ's infrastructure spending, finance minister signals Horowhenua mayor attempts once again to reinstate his ousted deputy When the river runs dry: The true cost of NZ water The immigration debate: Please leave your logic at the border A brief glossary of terms politicians use in the immigration debate Maori land reform bill continues to divide Mana and the Maori Party despite a promise to work together NZ's net migration gain still at record highs near 72,000 as arrivals continue to climb

Mayor Michael Laws says a move to add an "h" to the spelling of Wanganui would destroy the culture and history of the city.

Earlier today the New Zealand Geographic Board released its finding that Wanganui should have an "h".

In a statement, the board said the public would be given three months to make submissions on the proposed name change.

Te Runanga o Tupoho had submitted a proposal to the board to change the city's name to Whanganui, with Iwi spokesman Ken Mair saying the name was considered meaningless without the ''h".

Mr Laws today slammed the Board's decision.

''This is a direct attack upon our city and our citizens.''

Mr Laws said the decision was "morally and historically wrong, and will be resisted with all effort and endeavour by the Wanganui District Council and the vast majority of the citizens of Wanganui."

In a 2006 referendum, 18 percent of people voted for the ''h''.

However Geographic Board chairman Don Grant said there was a ''valid case'' to change the spelling.

''Wanganui, the name given to the town to reflect its position near the mouth of the Whanganui river, was spelt incorrectly and has never been formally gazetted by this Board or its predecessors.

''It is therefore not currently an official New Zealand place name.''

Dr Grant said the board had carefully considered the Wanganui District Council's views opposing the spelling change, and acknowledged that the name Wanganui had a long history of local usage.

However, he said early settlers "clearly intended the name of the city to be derived from the Maori name of the river, and consistent modern usage of the language showed the spelling should be Whanganui, not Wanganui."

Whanganui means great harbour or expanse of water and was named by Haunui, who came on the Aotea waka more than 600 years ago.

- with NZPA

 

Ad Feedback

- The Dominion Post

Special offers
Opinion poll

Should the speed limit be raised to 110kmh on some roads?

Yes

No

Vote Result

Related story: 110kmh limit moves closer

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content