Wanganui or Whanganui?


​​​​​​​​​​​Since the mid-1800s there have been two different spellings in use for the name of our area. 

The different spellings arose from the way in which local iwi pronounce the word 'Whanganui' (the 'wh' creating a barely aspirated sound) and the way in which European settlers wrote down the word as they heard it.​​

The name of the Whanganui River was changed by the Government following consultation to reflect the Māori spelling in 1991.

When it comes to spelling the name of our urban area or city, it has been a matter of choice since late 2012 when alternative spellings for the city were officially recognised in Parliament. At that time it was determined that both spellings are acceptable and correct when referring to our urban area or city.

New Zealand Geographic Board
Ngā Pou Taunaha o​ Aotearo​​a

In December 2014 the Whanganui District Council voted to ask the New Zealand Geographic Board Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa (NZGB) to undertake the process to change the name of the district from ​Wanganui to Whanganui following a request from Tūpoho, a Whanganui iwi rūnanga.

The NZGB accepted this request and their public consultation process on the proposal closed on 28 August 2015. After considering the submssions, the Board made a recommendation to the Minister of Land Information who makes the final decision.

Waitangi T​​r​ibunal

On 22 October 2015 the Waitangi Tribunal released He Whiritaunoka: The Whanganui Land Report, in which it reports to the Crown on 83 claims of hapū and iwi of the Whanganui inquiry district.

The Tribunal recommended that the Crown overturn the decision that authorised both ‘Wanganui’ and ‘Whanganui’ as legitimate spellings. The Tribunal said that in the claimants’ view it is ‘Whanganui’, and the Crown should respect their preference.

The Whanganui Land Report is available on the Waitangi Tribunal website.

​District nam​​​e to chang​e to Whanganui

On 17 November 2015 Land Information Minister Louise Upston announced that our district's name would be corrected to Whanganui. Read the Minister's announcement on the Beehive website.

Mayor Annette Main welcomed the announcement. Read the Mayor's comments in our media release.

We've also got a longer version of the film, which includes a waiata and the list of local people who helped make it.​

Page reviewed: 23 Aug 2016 3:00pm