Media Release: Manawatū District Council to request name alteration

Manawatū District Council will make a request to the New Zealand Geographic Board to officially alter the name of the district to include a macron over the letter ‘u’.

In te reo Māori, macrons are used to indicate long vowel sounds in words and can impact the meaning or context of the word. They help guide people unfamiliar with the word on how to pronounce it correctly.

The use of a macron in Manawatū differs across the district, with no rules currently in place to ensure it is included. Many Council staff and elected members already use the macron in Manawatū, and it is seen in many of council’s official documents, plans, internal policies, and digital channels. However, council are keen to explore the process of officially altering the district’s name to help with the standardisation of the use of the macron in the future.

“The decision by Council today is a recognition that te reo Māori is a taonga for our Māori community. Whilst it might seem like a small gesture, we know that this is a significant step towards respecting te reo Māori and it’s something that council are happy to support,” said Mayor Helen Worboys.

Should the name change go ahead, the inclusion of the macron is a straightforward administrative correction and any associated costs with the change are absorbed into the operational budget.

Ngā Tapuae o Matangi Māori Ward Councillor Bridget Bell welcomed the decision by council to move forward with the proposal.

“Today’s outcome is a tangible demonstration the name is deeply important to us. It also signals a desire among a few in council to honour the whakapapa (heritage) of our name, Manawatū and equally respect the integrity of te reo Māori.”

Council will now submit a proposal for a name alteration to the New Zealand Geographic Board, who will then proceed to publicly notify residents of the district and seek submissions on the proposal.