Kiwis clash over whether there should be an ‘h’ in Wanganui or not? I don’t think so.
I was in Wanganui at the time this issue was being debated. There was very little acrimony, and most locals, both Maori and more recent arrivals, agreed that the spelling of the name Wanganui should be retained rather than add the ‘h’ to make it Whanganui.
This NineMSN story is not right when it says early settlers made a spelling mistake. The Maoris had no written language. What is now written ‘wh’ at the beginning of Maori words was a way (invented by Europeans) of indicating that the word should pronounced with an aspirated ‘w’ – like that at the beginning of the word whistle. It is now commonly pronounced as an ‘f”, but this is whrong.
In any case, the name of the place has always been written Wanganui, for as long as the name of the place has been written. To change it now would just be a silly ‘PC’ decision which even most local Maori don’t agree with. So I am pleased the Wanganui Council has decided to leave it alone.