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Ōpōtiki District - the pet fish from afar

Consultation begins today on the addition of macrons to correct the spelling of Opotiki District to Ōpōtiki District.

This follows a proposal from the Opotiki District Council to the New Zealand Geographic Board Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa (NZGB) in June 2018.

The council outlined its interest in officially changing the spelling of Opotiki to Ōpōtiki to recognise the importance of its partnership with mana whenua and promote te reo Māori and tikanga.

The council’s proposal included a history of the name which says that Ōpōtiki is a contraction of ‘Ōpōtiki-Mai-Tawhiti’.

According to this history, after arriving in Aotearoa the tipuna Tarawa released his pet tanahanaha (fish) into a spring. The spring became known as ‘Ōpōtiki-Mai-Tawhiti’ meaning ‘the pets from afar’.

NZGB Secretary, Wendy Shaw says that the proposed change to include macrons to Ōpōtiki District is consistent with the Board’s role in applying macrons correctly in written Māori to support the meaning of a name.

Ms Shaw says the town name officially became Ōpōtiki on 21 June 2019, so correcting the district name would align the two.

Consultation is open from 31 July until 6 September 2019.

Submissions supporting or objecting to this proposal can be made online, emailed to NZGBsubmissions@linz.govt.nz, or posted to:

The Secretary of the New Zealand Geographic Board, c/o Land Information New Zealand, PO Box 5501, Wellington 6145.

For more information about the process for altering District names see https://www.linz.govt.nz/regulatory/place-names/propose-place-name/proposing-alter-district-or-region-name

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