The Maori Party is welcoming the Wanganui District Council's decision to apply to have its spelling changed to Whanganui, with an 'h'.
Since a 2009 ruling by the New Zealand Geographic Board, Crown agencies have used the 'Whanganui' spelling – but it's been optional for everyone else.
Then-Mayor Michael Laws was vehemently opposed to the 'h', at the time saying anyone who mispronounced the town's name as "Fonganui" would "get hell raining down on you from both houses".
But on Friday the town's current council voted 10-4 in favour of Whanganui, only two weeks after rejecting to do so.
"It's heartening to see that councillors have reviewed their decision and wasted no time in correcting it," says Maori Party Co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell. "It's the right thing to do."
The Maori Party says Whanganui is a shortened form of its original name of Te Whanga-nui-a-Kupe, and that there is no such word as 'wanga' in Maori.
Mr Laws posted his response to the name change on Facebook, calling it "historically wrong".
The local hospital also decided to adopt the Whanganui spelling earlier this month.
Mr Flavell says the recent decision "maintains the integrity of te reo Māori and shows respect to manawhenua".
source: newshub archive