Mayor says district name decision provides certainty

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17/11/2015 11:45:00 a.m.

17 November 2015

Mayor Annette Main today welcomed Land Information Minister Louise Upston’s decision to change the name of the Wanganui District to Whanganui.

“The decision fits in with our vision of Whanganui as a place which works for all of us,” Mayor Main said.

“We are united in wanting our district to be the best place it can be and our community spirit and pride is strong.

“While I know that not everyone will agree with the change, I encourage our community to respect one another’s views. Our diversity is one of the things that most of us love about our place and want to celebrate.”

Following the then Minister of Land Information’s decision in 2009 that both Whanganui and Wanganui would be official names, an amendment to the Geographic Board (Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa) Act 2008 was made in 2012 to allow alternative spellings. However, this related to the urban area only which left out the rest of the district and created confusion.

“Since then use of ‘Whanganui’ has gradually increased by individuals, businesses and organisations,” Mayor Main said.

“This is a clear indication that relationships and times have changed and, along with many other people in our community, I welcome the Minister’s decision to change the district’s name to Whanganui. This decision will help provide certainty to our community and to people outside our district.

“Once the formal process is completed to effect the spelling change, the Council’s name will be able to change to Whanganui District Council. We don’t yet have confirmation of the timeframe for that process to occur.

“We know that a complete rebrand for the Council would be expensive so the amended spelling will be progressively introduced. We will change the spelling as items such as stationery, signs, uniforms and so on need replacing. Some of the Council’s partner organisations, such as Safer Whanganui, Whanganui Digital Leaders Forum and Whanganui & Partners, already use the Whanganui spelling.

“I know some existing businesses and organisations will want to retain the ‘Wanganui’ spelling and I want to assure them that they can continue to choose whichever spelling they prefer to use in their name. There is no compulsion for them to change to ‘Whanganui’.

“For many of us there is concern about how our district’s name will be pronounced. We acknowledge and respect that some other dialects pronounce ‘Wh’ as ‘F’ but we have created a video to demonstrate how we pronounce Whanganui locally - without the ‘F’ sound. The video is available on the Council’s YouTube channel and we welcome people to share it.”

Page reviewed: 17 Nov 2015 11:45am