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Iwi corrects New Zealand Geographic Board

NGĀ WAIHUA O PAERANGI TRUST

05 August 2019

Ohakune-based iwi Ngāti Rangi has corrected the New Zealand Geographic Board (NZGB) on their recent incorrect spelling of Ohakune as “Ōhakune”.

Chairman Che Wilson said he was shocked and disappointed that the NZGB failed to consult with Ngāti Rangi during the name change process.

“Ohakune has an important meaning to us as Ngāti Rangi and to our communities. The NZGB need to consult with all of us before making ill-informed decisions.”

“We put significant effort into our treaty settlement negotiations which included an extraordinary meeting with the NZGB to discuss several place name changes. Ohakune wasn’t considered because it was already correct and didn’t need changing.”

“While the record has since been corrected, the NZGB need to change their arbitrary processes whereby they are not required to consult with the people that their decisions actually affect. It’s not good enough and they should know better.”

“The Māori language commission, Te Taura Whiri i te reo Māori advised the NZGB that iwi hadn’t been consulted and that there may already be local orthography, yet they went ahead.”

The Ngāti Rangi history for this name comes from the phrase “... e oha, ka oha, he Ohakune ki te ao. This history has been passed on orally for generations and was also referenced in the opening tauparapara [incantation] in the 75th jubilee booklet for the Ohakune Borough Council, and in the title of Ohakune resident Merrilyn George’s book, Ohakune - An opening to a new world.

As the tauparapara outlines, an opening to a new world originates from the transition when you descend from Ruapehu and come out of the forest to rich open grasslands and swamps - he ohakune ki te ao. These rich lands have been replaced with a township and farms but the meaning remains.

ENDS

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