19 Dec 2009

Spell it as you wish, but how do you pronounce it?

12:59 pm on 19 December 2009

Following the official decision that the name of Wanganui (the city) can be spelt either with or without an "h", the city's MP is challenging the media over the question of pronunciation.

A spelling compromise was announced on Friday by the Minister for Land Information, Maurice Williamson, who said the official geographic name will be either Wanganui or Whanganui.

Radio New Zealand's presentation standards manager, Hewitt Humphrey, says it will be pronounced on air as "Whanganui", with a sound halfway between "f" and the old English "wh", for the sake of consistency throughout the country.

Television New Zealand has also adopted the "Whanganui" pronunciation.

But MP Chester Borrows says that, regardless of however the word is spelt, the pronunciation should be "Wanganui".

Crown agencies must include the 'h'

The Geographic Board was asked by the Whanganui iwi Te Runanga o Tupoho to approve a change to the spelling from Wanganui to Whanganui.

The board recommended that the spelling be changed but Mr Williamson has ruled that people can choose which version they prefer. Crown agencies, however, must include the "h", but need change signage and letterheads only when they would normally be updated.