Dear Sarah In your editorial you refer to a place called “the” Hawke’s Bay, but don’t abuse Taranaki or Marlborough in the same way. All three were provinces prior to 1876 and, as such, are defined geographical areas.
I submit that “the” should be applied only to general areas, such as the Waikato, the King Country, the Manawatu, the West Coast, etc.
This abomination was once unknown, but has become increasingly prevalent in recent years.
It should also be noted that apostrophes are not used in geographical names.
Having said that, if that is all one can complain about then it can’t all be bad! Regards Keith James Napier ED. Dear Keith, this letter has thrown me. I will now have to rethink how we write place names, because indeed you are right, according to the New Zealand Geographic Board which I quote below: New Zealand Geographic Board follows the standards from the History Group of the Ministry for Culture and Heritage by removing apostrophes from place names (e.g. ‘Arthurs Pass’). I should also note that Steve Hale did not use an apostrophe, it was only after my insistence that we put one in. I did so, because so many publications use an apostrophe including the local newspaper Hawke’s Bay Today. I am hoping your letter might start a discussion. In terms of your reaction to the word “the”, you are also probably right, and your language calling it an “abomination” and my use of it an “abuse” was so colourful and passionate as to make me smile.