Waiwhakaiho spelling still confuses
One month after a scandalous misspelling on Waiwhakaiho bridge was revealed, Taranaki's much loved Hospice Shop has exposed another Waiwhakaiho spelling anomaly.
While putting together an advertisement for a manager at their new Waiwhakaiho shop, debate raged among staff about whether to include the first "h" when spelling the word or spell it as it is pronounced, without the "h".
"I had always learnt to spell it without the `h'," chief executive Kevin Nielsen said. "But we talked with a Maori woman who is on our team here and she said the correct spelling for Waiwhakaiho was with an 'h', even if it wasn't pronounced."
Still unsure which way to go, the hospice team consulted the usually trusty phone book only to find two spellings: one with the "h" and one without, but both meaning the same place.
Those wanting to visit the Mitre 10 Mega store will find it in the "h"-less "Waiwakaiho", whereas the Z Energy service station is in the Waiwhakaiho with an "h".
A search on Google maps is no more help with both versions of the word bringing you to the same place in the same manner Whanganui city comes up whether you include the official "h" or not.
Luckily a spokeswoman for Te Wananga Maori at Witt had a definitive answer on whether to include the silent "h" when spelling Waiwhakaiho.
"If you miss the `h' it would mean something totally different," she said.
"Without the `h' Waiwakaiho means sinking vessel. When you include the `h' you get its true meaning, which is spiritual umbilical cord."
That might not be the only meaning. In 2003 when the "h" issue last came to the fore, Ruakere Hond of Taranaki iwi said Waiwhakaiho meant the water that is flowing down from a high place (the mountain).
Armed with this information Mr Nielsen promised to for ever more spell it with an "h" and forget what he had been taught.
In May it was noticed a New Zealand Transport Agency sign on the Waiwhakaiho bridge had given the river an extra "ka", turning it into Waiwhakakaiho.
The botched sign, which has since been replaced, had been on the bridge for years before anyone noticed the mistake.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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