16 Feb 2015

Hundreds have a say on 'h' in Whanganui

8:06 am on 16 February 2015

The Wanganui District Council says hundreds of people outside the rohe made submissions about their preference for the spelling of the district's name.

Whanganui Hospital

The council received 1500 written submissions on whether or not Whanganui should have an 'H' and hundreds more online. Photo: SUPPLIED

In December, councillors voted 10-4 in favour of applying to the Geographic Board for an official name change.

The board must consult with the public and the council also voted to run a public consultation process to ensure everyone has the opportunity to provide their views on whether Whanganui should be spelt with an 'H'.

Deputy mayor Hamish McDouall said because the Whanganui diaspora lived far and wide, it was decided to allow for online submissions which he said was very popular.

He said some councillors recognised that there are some Whanganui people who live away from the district who would not otherwise have a chance to have their say.

Mr McDouall said the council has received 1500 written submissions, plus "hundreds" of responses to the online survey.

He said compared to 10 years ago, he believed that more non-Maori were embracing the "H" and if a referendum was to be held it would show a decline in the number of people who did not support the "H".

The public consultation process finished on Friday after running for two months.

The online survey responses will be included with the written submissions when they are presented to the Geographic Board.

The council is expected to report soon on the results.

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