The Dominion Post

O for Ohakune

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A decision to change the spelling of Ohakune to O¯ hakune has been reversed by the New Zealand Geographic Board after local iwi complained. Ohakune-based iwi Nga¯ti Rangi was shocked by the name change, which was put through at a meeting in April without discussion with the local community. Iwi chairman Che Wilson said the decision failed to take into account local context and instead assumed every placename starting with an ‘‘O’’ needed a macron. ‘‘Ohakune has an important meaning to us as Nga¯ti Rangi and to our communitie­s.’’ Wilson said the board had assumed ‘‘hakune’’ was a person and ‘‘O’’ translated to ‘‘of’’; however, Nga¯ti Rangi history reveals the name came from the phrase ‘‘e oha, ka oha, he Ohakune ki te ao’’. In that context, ‘‘Oha’’ means to enter into, referring to the area’s geography.

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