Once upon a time, there was a group of valiant knights in search of a new place to call home.
They settled near a plentiful river, where they established a small settlement and built their families.
The community grew and thrived and in an ode to the original settlers, the township was named Knights.
In time, other people arrived in Knights in search of a better future.
They joined the community and established relationships with the original inhabitants.
The newcomers brought pen and paper and recorded the name of the township as it sounded, spelling the word Nights.
Families who had lived there for generations were upset for they felt the history of their beloved home had been erased.
For this place was not named for the night sky or the darkness or stars, but rather it was named in honour of the valiant knights who settled this place.
Yes, the K was silent, but without it, the name of the town lost all its meaning for those who had lived there for generations.
Without the K, the knights who built this town would be consigned to the depths of oblivion - and their children would not have that.
I was delighted to discover recently that the Royal Wanganui Opera House would be adopting the H in its spelling of the city, correcting a 122-year-old mistake.
The historic Victorian theatre is due for a facelift, and the Whanganui District Council's property and services committee has agreed unanimously to add the "h" as they upgrade the building.
This is long overdue but a positive move nonetheless, and it should serve as an example to local businesses who are yet to make the change that it is time to get on the bandwagon.
In 2017, the Government confirmed that the official spelling of the district's name was with an H, however the city can technically be spelled either way.
Since then, several schools, organisations and businesses have adopted the "h" - including this very newspaper and more recently the Whanganui Rugby Union.
I love seeing our city's Māori name spelled properly and it sticks out like a sore thumb to me when it is not.
Like the story of Knights, spelling matters.
Local Māori who have been here for 800 years call this place Whanganui. Whanga means bay, nui means big.
It is commonly accepted that the original spelling was incorrect because the European author did not account for the unique local dialect, where the "h" is silent.
Nevertheless, Whanganui is a Māori name that reflects the river mouth. Wanganui is a butchered attempt at the Māori name, and means nothing in English, either.
I've often wondered why so many people dig their heels in to keep the incorrect spelling.
Former mayor Michael Laws certainly fuelled the resistance, which ultimately resulted in a failed referendum to adopt the correct spelling.
But the odds were against us from the beginning.
Referendums rarely work in favour of Māori or any minority group. Voters were not educated about the injustices, history and nuances of the "h" debate and Māori were outnumbered.
Fast forward to now and recent progress shows we are in a better place, but still not quite there.
Several local businesses continue to resist the change. It is disappointing and nowadays I prefer to take my money elsewhere.
There are also plenty of online services and tools that have not adopted Whanganui as a place name, including Facebook.
As a Māori woman from the river, I honestly wince every time I see it spelled wrong.
It strikes me as unfair and it feels racist that our predominantly white community and authorities, right through to government, have enabled our home to be spelled wrong for generations upon generations.
Overpowering us. Undermining the integrity of our precious language. Telling us it does not matter. It does matter.
This week my son and nieces performed in the Opera House for the Nga Manu Kopara junior kapa haka competition which attracted lots of Māori school kids and their whānau. Haka and waiata filled the theatre with mana.
What sort of message are we sending those children when we are butchering their native language and painting it on walls like we are proud of it?
It may have been spelled Wanganui your whole life, but it was known as Whanganui for hundreds of years before you were born.
Te reo Māori was the first language of this river and this place and is an official language of New Zealand.
Refusing to right this wrong is ignorant, arrogant, and insulting to my culture and to my ancestors – and much like the fictional place of Knights, our children too will not have that.