Iwi supports place name spelling corrections

7:01 am on 31 August 2015

Iwi in eastern Bay of Plenty are welcoming spelling corrections for local place names in their rohe.

Louise Upston

Louise Upston Photo: SUPPLIED

Land Information Minister Louise Upston announced her decision to correct the spelling of 12 place and feature names in the Ōpōtiki District.

The names include such places as the Waiotahi River, Waiotahi Forest and Waiotahi Knoll, which will be corrected to the original Māori name 'Waiotahe'.

A kaumatua from local iwi Te Whakatōhea and Ngāi Tūhoe, Bruce Pukepuke, said he supported the decision because it respected the right way in which the ancestors gave the name to the area.

"We do agree on that and the local people do agree on that as well," he said.

"I te wā i īnoihia e ngā korōua ko Waiotahe kē, karekau ko Waiotahi", hei tā Pukepuke.

"It goes back to the name when the elders requested that it should be Waiotahe, and not Waiotahi," Mr Pukepuke said.

Government, council and iwi support for spelling corrections

"It is well known around Ōpōtiki that the name Waiotahi is incorrect but despite this, the misspelling has prevailed for some time through common usage," said Louise Upston.

"Correcting the spelling to the original name of Waiotahe for these places and features has significant meaning to mana whenua Te Upokorehe, and is supported by the neighbouring Tūhoe and Whakatōhea iwi, as well as local councils."

This decision upholds the decision of the New Zealand Geographic Board (NZGB), which followed three months of public consultation in late 2014.

The NZGB submitted its decision, along with the two public submissions received - one objecting and one supporting - and other relevant information, to the Minister on 30 July 2015.

"Based on this information, and taking into account the NZGB's function to correct spelling and collect and encourage the use of original Māori place names, I have confirmed the NZGB's decision to correct the 12 names.

"New Zealand has a rich and diverse cultural history and I am pleased we are able to help safeguard the place naming traditions and heritage that have been brought here by our various communities," Ms Upston said.

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