How we say 'Whanganui'

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

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

The history of our name change


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


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.

December 2014

Wanganui 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.

November 2015

After considering the submissions, the Board made a recommendation to the Minister of Land Information.

On 17 November 2015, former Land Information Minister Louise Upston said 'the spelling of Wanganui District will be corrected to Whanganui District – reflecting the views of Whanganui District Council, local iwi and public submitters'.

On 19 November 2017 the name change was officially gazetted.