Board agrees on name for Wanganui Hospital

By Anne-Marie Emerson -
Wanganui Hospital main entrance. Photo / Tracey Grant
Wanganui Hospital main entrance. Photo / Tracey Grant

Wanganui Hospital will retain the current spelling of its name - unless you're speaking Maori.

The Whanganui District Health Board yesterday voted unanimously against changing the hospital's name to Whanganui Hospital, instead opting to keep the current spelling and adding the Maori translation, Whanganui Hohipera, underneath.

Board members discussed the issue after a paper was brought to yesterday's meeting.

The paper noted that the Minister for Land Information, Maurice Williamson, indicated that he expected Crown agencies to move over time towards using Whanganui over Wanganui.

The paper also said there had always been "a degree of inconsistency" over the spelling of both the DHB and the hospital, based on either personal preference or error. During discussions, board members appeared to be split over the issue until a compromise suggested by board member Michael Laws unexpectedly united the board.

Mr Laws pointed out that every sign in the hospital was bilingual, with the English written first and Maori underneath. For example, a sign for the hospital chapel also contains the words "whare karakia" - the Maori for chapel.

"Every sign has a bicultural translation and I don't see why we can't do that with the hospital's name. Both names are legitimate, and it keeps both sides of the debate happy.

"It's an elegant solution," Mr Laws said.

His motion was put to the vote and was passed unanimously.

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