Mayor Annette Main believes the time is right to add the "H" to Wanganui.

Following the announcement last week that the New Zealand Geographic Board had opened consultation on a name change for the district, Ms Main said the "Whanganui" spelling had become much more common in recent times.

"This is a clear indication that relationships and times have changed," she told the Chronicle.

A notable supporter of adding the "H", the mayor said: "The council has active and close relationships with Whanganui iwi and these are continuing to develop for the benefit of the whole community.

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"Our partner organisations, such as Safer Whanganui, Whanganui Digital Leaders Forum and Whanganui & Partners, are already using the 'Whanganui' spelling."

The Geographic Board's public consultation will last three months from May 28.

After an initial rejection by Wanganui District Council of a name change, the council finally proposed changing the name of the district to Whanganui by a vote of 10-3 in December.

It then conducted its own consultation and received close to 2000 submissions.

Ms Main said the Geographic Board consultation was "an opportunity for our community, as well as people throughout New Zealand, to have their say.

"Submissions made to the council last year were provided to the Geographic Board as part of the council's request to change the name to Whanganui district. People who participated in the council process can make submissions to the Geographic Board as well."

The Geographic Board has said it is interested in reasons provided with submissions, not necessarily submission numbers; the process is not a vote. Following consultation, submissions will be analysed and considered when the board meets on September 23.

Ms Main said the outcome would "provide certainty" to iwi and Wanganui residents. The council proposal followed a request from the Tupoho Working Party to consider changing the spelling.

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