The process to correct the official spelling of Ōpōtiki has started after a recent Ōpōtiki District Council vote.

The council voted on June 5 to ensure the inclusion of the macrons in Ōpōtiki through Land Information New Zealand.

A rapid numbering and road renaming project, currently under way to ensure the correct numbering and naming of all addresses and roads in the district, discovered the name 'Ōpōtiki' was misspelt in the Land Information New Zealand database.

Macrons are the small dash above a vowel showing a longer vowel sound. They are crucial in te reo as they tell you how to pronounce a word and are crucial to a word's meaning.

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Ōpōtiki councillor Arihia Tuoro explained the importance of starting the process of correcting the spelling and the flow on effects.

"Around the community, we already use macrons in the name Ōpōtiki – it is our tikanga, our place name, so there is no question that there should be macrons for it to make sense.

"Council has long used macrons in our signage and documents. Many other institutions around the district already use the macrons as well – schools, community groups and so on.

"By going through the official process, the council is formalising this use and recognising the importance of the macrons and our commitment to partnership with local iwi. It will provide a clear and consistent name and recognise the importance of te reo and tikanga, particularly in place names," Tuoro said.

As the council starts the process there will be a formal consultation period for people to express their views through the New Zealand Geographic Board.

"It is also important to note that once it goes through the formal process, there won't be a legal requirement for business and groups to change their name. They can use or not use macrons at their own discretion," Tuoro said.

"As council already uses the correct spelling in most signage, we don't anticipate extra costs for ratepayers. But it would mean that other government agencies such as the New Zealand Transport Agency would replace or alter signs as part of their normal renewal or damage replacement programme.

"For us, this is taking a formal step to ratify a name that is already in use in our community."