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For God’s sake, its the same name

Written By: - Date published: 9:11 am, December 18th, 2009 - 53 comments
Categories: uncategorized - Tags: ,

In what has got to be the ultimate manifestation of this government’s inability to take a simple decision for fear of losing someones vote, Land Information Minister Maurice Williamson is set to announce that the city the rest of the country knows as Redneckville will now be known as Wanganui and Whanganui.

It’s the same frigging name. It’s not akin to Aorangi/Mt Cook, co-names from different cultural roots. It’s the same word – the correct spelling and the old misspelling.

Government agencies will use ‘h’ but ‘no h’ will also be official and, no doubt, Michael Lhaws’ council will use the old spelling. Instead of ending it, this ‘decision’ is likely to further the argument over the spelling as individual organisations choose which of the spelling they prefer. If nothing else it will make googling the place a pain in the arse.

This has been the dumbest national political debate ever. Rather than just finally put it to bed one way or the other, the government has opted to punt for touch, leaving the issue to rear its annoying head in the future. Weak.

53 comments on “For God’s sake, its the same name”

  1. fizzleplug 1

    Although it does save all the small businesses re-branding costs. Which is a good thing.

    • Rob Carr 1.1

      Would that really cost so much? Its not like they would have to do it on the day the name changed. Could be phased out.

    • felix 1.2

      Zero cost.

      No-one would need to go out and reprint anything until they were going to print it anyway. No-one.

      No-one would need to throw away a single scrap of stationery. No-one.

      Did Michael Laws tell you there’d be a fine for using the wrong name or something?

      • fizzleplug 1.2.1

        Except that it’s not a great look to have the name of your city spelled wrong in your business name.

        • felix 1.2.1.1

          Usually not a good look, no.

          Of course if name of your city has just been officially changed after a long, boring, and very public debate I expect people will tend to make allowances for the first couple of years, eh?

          And by “people will tend to make allowances” I mean “nobody will give a shit”.

          • lukas 1.2.1.1.1

            other than Laws and Turia, I suspect they are the kind of people who would not do business with someone if the business used the “wrong” version of the name.

        • Daveosaurus 1.2.1.2

          Well, a lot of them have been spelling it wrong for the last century and a half; from now until they run out of letterhead and business cards shouldn’t be too much of an issue…

  2. Peter Johns 2

    With Fizzleplug on this one. There will be some disappointed ISPs, sign writers & printers out there with this decision. What’s in a name anyway?
    There are more pressing issues to worry about than wheather we have native spelling correct or not.

  3. corkscrew 4

    To me it has and always will be called ‘Petre’.

    • It’s easy. Let’s spell it the way Maori did in pre-European times.

      • Lanthanide 4.1.1

        I can’t tell if you’re being serious or not.

        Maori didn’t have a written language until European colonisation.

        • Deus ex Machina 4.1.1.1

          I knew that, and I am being serious. If Maori didn’t spell it with an ‘h’, or without an ‘h’ come to that, what authority do ‘they’ now have to demand it have an ‘h’ against the wishes of 80% of the people who actually live there and define their homes with it.

          Language is a living, changing thing. If you want to be ‘correct’ the plural of forum, like this one, is fora not forums, but ‘forums’ is now accepted usage while ‘fora’ is archaic and event pretentious. Similarly whether ‘Whanganui is correct or not, Wanganui had become accepted usage and insisting on an undemocratic change for the most facile of historical reasons is more about power and political correctness than accuracy.

          • Bored 4.1.1.1.1

            Sound logic and in principle agree. Then comes the real issue, the expression of “indigenous” rights (what ever that means to who ever) with all its connotations of political ownership, sovereignty, race etc etc.

            My personal take on it is that if it is important to Maori that they spell “Maori” names, words etc in a way that suits them I as a pakeha will defer to their preference and judgment and not intervene. If conversely a Maori tells me how I should spell my European names words etc I will take a non placatory stance.

            Had Laws not made this a political circus I think the whole issue would be long forgotten on the above principle. He does not deserve any credit for cheap politicking when far more important issues are at hand.

            • Rex Widerstrom 4.1.1.1.1.1

              Had Laws not made this a political circus I think the whole issue would be long forgotten, as would he. He therefore deserves credit for successfully hoodwinking the dopey media by utilising cheap politicking and divisive racism as a last gasp method of maintaining his national “profile”, because there is no more important issue than Micael’s right to see himself written about in the newspaper.

              There, fixed it.

  4. Innocent bystander 5

    What re-branding costs? Official names are only binding on government agencies.
    The NZ Geographic board will not be employing a squad of walk short clad goons armed with clipboards to burst into every corner dairy and hair salon town to enforce their decision. Private businesses can call Whanganui whatever they want.

  5. Ed 6

    There are already a number of organisations that have used the name Whanganui for years with no problems. This is a lame decision by the government – perhaps they were intimidated by the mayor . . .

  6. satty 7

    We can only hope and pray that people don’t get lost with different names on the roadsigns 🙂

  7. cocamc 8

    Actually – who gives a shit. It’s just a name – don’t we have more important things to worry about.

    • Why I give a shit – tho’ I wouldn’t give any more than that – and why I’m surprised there aren’t more folk on this site giving a shit – is that this pisses on democracy.

      I couldn’t care less how Wanganui spells itself, but the fact is that in a popular referendum 80% of the people who live there said they wanted it to remain Wanganui yet their views are being pissed on by a Government more concerned with buying the support of the Maori Party in Parliament in order to preserve its power than it is in representing the wishes of the people of this country.

      • Lew 8.1.1

        Matters of historical, geographic and historical fact aren’t up for the popular vote, though. Or do you think they should be?

        L

        • Lew 8.1.1.1

          Hrm, one of those ‘historicals’ should be a ‘linguistic’.

          Sorry.

          L

          • Lew 8.1.1.1.1

            No, it’s not. You either accept that the word was ‘Whanganui’ (whether spelt or not) or you dispute that fact. If The former, there is only one correct spelling; if the latter: make your case.

            How it’s pronounced isn’t relevant to the spelling — or, to be more precise, is only relevant if those whose word it is (the local people whose iwi bears the same name) choose to make it relevant. In this case they manifestly haven’t.

            As to your example: perhaps they should. This being a free society, you’re welcome to bring such a case to the NZGB and have them deliberate on the matter.

            L

        • Deus ex Machina 8.1.1.2

          It’s an historical fact that the settlement of “Wanganui” has been “Wanganui” for a a whole lot longer than it ever was “Whanganui”, and linguistically I hear it pronounced “Wongangui” almost exclusively, with no fricative.

          In any case you’re not voting on what the historical etc. facts are. You asking people what effect they want to give those historical etc. in their lives today. After all, perhaps the Geographic Board ought to rule upon whether the correct name for New Zealand isn’t Nieu Zeeland.

      • Swampy 8.1.2

        Whanganui belongs to all of New Zealand, not Michael Laws. His campaign is obviously for political ends, because he can only get elected in Whanganui and wouldn’t survive five minutes in Parliament as he proved.

  8. randal 9

    hey eddie we live in a modern secular schizophrenic state.
    we dont believe in God but nodobody wants to give up christmas!
    there is no God and even worse there is no tolerance for any one or any thing.
    the aitchers are like queer sects or the numbskulls who say that the constitution of the U.S. is the most perfect document if only an extra clause that they have devised themselves was included as an amendment.
    I am afraid that never in my wildest dreams would I ever agree with you know who but while the minions are exerciseing themselves over an abstract nothing the concrete causes of dissatisfaction and social distress are being completely ignored while the idiologues fight over a stupid frigging h.

  9. prism 10

    I disagree that having the option of spelling it differently is dumb. There need be no confusion about understanding – It is quite obvious what place is being referred to. And the superglue forces of reaction do not have to have their little worlds shifted even slightly. Eventually the spelling that Maori want will be the accepted one and the changeover will be achieved seamlessly.

  10. Tigger 11

    This is a fence-sitting position that could have easily been solved with common sense. The place is called Whanganui. Require all official bodies to use official name. Let private business change names over time. At some point all the Wanganui signs will simply become quaint relics. And as already pointed out – it’s not example Egmont/Taranaki here – no one is going to be confused because they saw a sign that still said Wanganui.

    Typical National move, a ‘fix’ that isn’t actually a fix.

  11. gobsmacked 12

    The essential point here is that this non-decision makes both spellings official. It is not phasing out “Wanganui”, over time. It is not just a matter of waiting for new letterhead. There is no reason to change Wanganui, now the government has said it’s correct.

    So a decision will still have to be made, eventually. In the meantime, the arguing will go on. What a farce.

  12. BLiP 13

    At least the decision is consistent with Shonkey’s overall strategy for New Zealand: do nothing.

  13. randal 14

    I dont care how they spell it.
    what I object to is toeing somebody elses line.
    and most of all I object to some crumb smirking away about thow they made the pakeha change.
    hahahahahaha frigging ha.
    why dont they just re name it completely.
    left right black or white they are all trying to force us to behave in exactly the way they want it.
    you know.
    like children who want their own way.

    • prism 14.1

      Rave on, you crazy feeling,
      You know its got me reeling,
      Rave on, rave on oh oh oh
      Hey Randal, this was an old pop song. Sounds like you might have heard it.

  14. The Maori language version of the Treaty of Waitangi is known as “Te Tiriti o Waitangi”. Clearly the Maori had no word of their own for ‘treaty’ so they adopted the European concept and word and spelled it as it sounded phonetically in Maori.

    However if Wanganui without an ‘h’ is wrong, being presumably one way the early settlers spelled the Maori word as it sounded phonetically, ‘tiriti’ is equally wrong (being one race’s attempt to spell a word from another’s language) and should be corrected to “Te Treaty o Waitangi”.

    No? Ah, then it is as I thought. All races in New Zealand are equal, but some are more equal than others.

    Now where have I heard that before?

    • Lew 15.1

      DEM,

      The Maori language version of the Treaty of Waitangi is known as “Te Tiriti o Waitangi’. Clearly the Maori had no word of their own for ‘treaty’ so they adopted the European concept and word and spelled it as it sounded phonetically in Maori.

      WTF? How the hell does this follow? The document was written in English and partly translated, partly transliterated by speakers whose fluency and understanding of the two languages was highly imperfect.

      All you’re doing here is illustrating how little you know about how languages work and develop, and about NZ’s constitutional history. If you want to keep at it, I’ll not prevent you; but I should say you’re not really helping your cause.

      L

    • QoT 15.2

      You really don’t know how different languages and the sounds they employ work, do you?

  15. prism 16

    Michael Laws on tv! Strutting like a fine-feathered rooster warning people not to say Wanganui with a f. How can he maintain his confident superiority based on – what? Looking at him is a terrible warning against falling for an outspoken personality when voting for an official something. Ronald Reagan could tell good jokes but being a public figure is no joke, though the public might like to joke about them. That’s no great consolation during the years they’re in office.

    • Daveosaurus 16.1

      I actually say “Michael Laws” with an “f”. Also a “u”, a “c”, a “k”, a “w”, an “i” and a “t”.

    • Ed 16.2

      Lhaws may well be correct that it should not be pronounced with an initial ‘f’ sound. It was almost certainly originally pronounced with a ‘wh’ sound as in ‘when’ or ‘whence’, and wrongly written down by some early Europeans as has been pointed out above. That the pronunciation of many ‘wh’ words in English has changed to ‘w’ (eg wen or wence) is no excuse to further change to ‘f’ (fen or fence?) – that is not Taranaki maori pronunciation.

    • Swampy 16.3

      Hate to say it but Laws is correct, the h is silent in the local dialect.

      • The Voice of Reason 16.3.1

        Not so, Swampy. It is not the hard ‘f’ sound we are more familiar with (whakatane, whanau), but pronounced as if the h came before the w. More like whisper or whisk.

        And I wouldn’t rely the linguistic accuracy of batshit mad racist Michael Laws any more than I’d ask his advice on the wisdom of eyeliner for men.

        • prism 16.3.1.1

          I’ve wondered about Laws and eyeliner and his eyelashes. You can’t help the way you look so that’s just mean. I dislike what he says and thinks – how can Whanganui embrace this guy – or are they so eager for publicity that any is welcome?

          • The Voice of Reason 16.3.1.1.1

            I’m told the eyeliner is tattooed in, which is creepy in itself. Don’t know about the eyelashes. Can you get extensions for eyelashes?

            As it happened, I was in Whangaz yesterday and most folk seemed to be shrugging their shoulders about the decision. In fact, people seemed miffed that no decision really seemed to have been made, though TVNZ changing the weather forecast and news headlines to the ‘new’ spelling seems to suggest the change is going to come whether the rednecks like it or not.

            Be interesting when the highway signposts get changed. It’s only going to happen when they need replacing. It’s not like I’d encourage people to nick the current ones to bring that about earlier than necessary, but if it were to happen, sweet.

        • prism 16.3.1.2

          I’ve wondered about Laws and eyeliner and his eyelashes. You can’t help the way you look so that’s just a mean thought on my part. I dislike what he says and thinks – how can Whanganui embrace this guy – or are they so eager for publicity that any is welcome?

          • prism 16.3.1.2.1

            The above two of my comments – the first I chose to amend so went to edit and did so. But still the first remains, it wasn’t discarded and replaced with new edited version.

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