Otago Daily Times

Call to put an ‘h’ into Wakatipu

- PHILIP CHAN­DLER philip.chan­dler@odt.co.nz Queenstown · Queenstown · Lake Tekapo · New Zealand · New Zealand Department of Conservation · Otago Region · Wanganui · Bnz.co.nz · Centre

NGAI Tahu el­der Sir Tipene O’Re­gan says it is time we put an ‘‘h’’ in ‘‘Wakatipu’’.

‘‘Whakatipu’’ is the undis­puted Maori spell­ing.

‘‘Wakatipu’’ has been em­ployed since early European days and pops up, well, just about ev­ery­where in the Queen­stown Lakes district.

‘‘I don’t think any­one’s run­ning around get­ting of­fended but we would cer­tainly pre­fer to have a clear public un­der­stand­ing and throw a bit of ef­fort into public aware­ness,’’ Sir Tipene said.

‘‘We can only take on so many scraps at once, but [cor­rect­ing the mis­spellings of] Wakatipu and Tekapo [Takapo] will be, I think, the next two com­ing up.’’

Sir Tipene said Whakatipu was not just the cor­rect name for Queen­stown’s main lake (Whakatipu Waimaori), but also ap­peared in the Maori names for other lo­cal land­marks such as Dart River (Te Awa Whakatipu), Hol­ly­ford River and val­ley (Whakatipu Katuka) and Har­ris Sad­dle (Tara­haka Whakatipu).

Whakatipu was also used in Ngai Tahu’s cul­tural map­ping project, which Sir Tipene said was re­garded as an author­i­ta­tive source by the New Zealand Ge­o­graphic Board.

Pub­lic­ity about Whakatipu first sur­faced three years ago, with the nam­ing of the then­new Whakatipu Wildlife Trust.

It took a lead from the Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion, whose Queen­stown vis­i­tor cen­tre was sign­posted ‘‘Whakatipu­waiMaori’’.

At the time, Otago re­gional coun­cil­lor Michael Laws, who had been mayor of Wan­ganui when the ge­o­graphic board added ‘‘h’’ to it, said it was ‘‘mad­ness’’ to change the spell­ing of Wakatipu.

Whakatipu has been used for BNZ’s new Five Mile Part­ners Cen­tre, which re­ceived a Maori bless­ing on Mon­day.

Lo­cal Ngai Tahu kau­matua Darren Rewi said the bank con­sulted him.

‘‘I said the proper spell­ing is with the ‘‘h’’, so if you want to have a re­la­tion­ship with iwi, it’s best to have it there.’’

Queen­stown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult be­lieved adding an ‘‘h’’ was ‘‘wor­thy of a dis­cus­sion’’.

‘‘If that is the way [Maori] are spell­ing it, then we need to have a look at it, and de­cide whether we want to change.

‘‘Frankly, I would prob­a­bly think that it will take some time.

‘‘There’ll be those who like it, there’ll be those who don’t like it, but it will be in­ter­est­ing to hear some views.’’

Des­ti­na­tion Queen­stown act­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive Ann Lock­hart said if there was a move to­wards hon­our­ing the orig­i­nal spell­ing, DQ would sup­port that.

 ?? PHOTO: PHILIP CHAN­DLER ?? A sign on the Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion’s Stan­ley St vis­i­tor cen­tre in Queen­stown.
PHOTO: PHILIP CHAN­DLER A sign on the Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion’s Stan­ley St vis­i­tor cen­tre in Queen­stown.

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