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Regional council proposes adding ’h’ to Manawatu-Wanganui

The Whanganui River. - Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin

The Manawatu-Wanganui regional council is expecting controversy after asking locals if they want to add an 'h' to the spelling of its name.

The council, which trades as Horizons Regional Council, is considering the change as part of its long-term plan.

The council also wants to add a macron above the 'u' in Manawatu.

In 2015, then Minister for Land Information Louise Upston decided the region and city of Whanganui must be spelt with an 'h' - amid much controversy.

Council chair Bruce Gordon said debate over the spelling of the word Whanganui was always divisive.

"The local iwi are upset we spell it incorrectly. To be honest there's two lots of iwi ... one's for, one's against.

"You ask local hapu around Marton, they would rather go without the 'h', you go to Palmerston North, Rangitane, they want the 'h' put back in.

"The debate within Whanganui and surrounding area, it's incredible."

Mr Gordon said his person view was to add the 'h' - and five or 10 years down the track people wouldn't remember the debate, which would have been put to bed once and for all.

The plan is open for consultation until the end of the month.

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