The "H" is back on the table and will be subject to more debate when the Wanganui District Council meets at 2pm this Friday.

Councillor Helen Craig has submitted a notice of motion which has been added to the agenda.

The council is holding an extraordinary meeting that day to adopt its asset-management plan. Now Cr Craig's notice of motion will coat-tail on that agenda.

Mrs Craig's motion asks the council to request the NZ Geographic Board changes the name of the district from Wanganui to Whanganui. She said it would put into effect an earlier request from local iwi to change the name of the council to Whanganui District Council.


On December 2 the council discussed a similar request but the vote was lost 7-6.

Mrs Craig voted against the move, arguing that she was not given time to consider all the implications of the request.

In a letter to the Chronicle, she said the final decision was about respect for local iwi, but she also said councillors "owe a special duty of care" to ensure all aspects of the decision and feelings of citizens were treated with respect. She said the last debate had left the council with a mess and important relationships had been put at risk.

"To ignore Maori impact on the development of this district would be to send us back to a cultural and economic backwater. If this district does not make this final and essential move to respect iwi request, our efforts to date at growing our economic capacity will be for nothing," she said.

It was time for "Whanganui to grow up, be counted as progressive and proud of its Maori heritage and partners," Mrs Craig said. Her resolution would see the district renamed Whanganui, council would be renamed Whanganui District Council and officially "Whanganui" would be used by the council in everything under its control.

"We will be Whanganui. This will officially end the 'H' debate for Whanganui once and for all," Mrs Craig said.

Councillor Rob Vinsen said he also could support the revised spelling provided local people had an opportunity to express their opinion "and that can be either for or against the 'H'.

"The spelling is not the issue for me, personally, he said.


"I believe that Whanganui is the correct spelling in te reo, and that is what matters.

"But I think that it's a tragedy that this matter has hit the agenda yet again when the current legal situation and alternate spelling is working harmoniously."

Mr Vinsen said he would move a further resolution for a public consultation process and that those submissions would also be sent to the Geographic Board.