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Tariana Turia: "Disappointed but not surprised"

'Bitterly Disappointed but not surprised'

Tariana Turia; Member of Parliament for Te Tai Hauauru

12 February 2006

Local Member of Parliament for Te Tai Hauauru, Tariana Turia, today admitted she was ‘bitterly disappointed, but not surprised’ at the results of a referendum carried out by the Whanganui District Council.

82% of Whanganui residents who took part in the survey, voted to retain the status quo and continue to spell the city's name without an H.

“I had hoped that efforts would have been made to ensure Whanganui citizens were able to make an informed decision” said Mrs Turia. “It seems bizarre that a word which has so much significance to Whanganui iwi is even put up for a referendum in the first place”.

The word, Whanganui, is sourced in te reo Maori.

“Whanganui – with an h – is the name of our awa, the name of our people; and is imbued with great meaning” said Mrs Turia.

“We will continue to use the correct spelling of Whanganui with an h” said Mrs Turia, “because without it, the name is meaningless”.

“I am very disappointed” said Mrs Turia, “because this was a great opportunity for our local government politicians to show leadership, and they have failed to recognise that”.

“Whanganui city councillors could have seen this as a defining moment in this area, developing awareness around the deeper significance of the name”.

”I am disappointed that they did not take up the challenge to prepare for our future by bringing unity for their children”.

“I look forward to the day when we can have respect for each other and for each other’s culture – then, and only then, will we be able to move forward together” said Mrs Turia.

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