Friday, January 2, 2015

Mike Butler: No 'H' in 'Wanganui' on treaty


The name "Wanganui" was spelt without the "H" on the copy of the Treaty of Waitangi that chiefs in the area signed in 1840, Ross Baker of the One New Zealand Foundation points out. Here is a copy of the signatures of the chiefs that signed the Tiriti o Waitangi under the name, “Chiefs of Wanganui”.

Their signatures were witnessed by the Reverend Henry Williams.

Maori never had a written language and Wanganui was written by Williams from how the Wanganui Maori pronounce Wanganui, then put it to English spelling.

When Rev Henry Williams spoke to the chiefs at Wanganui before they signed the Treaty he would have made sure he use the correct pronunciation and spelling of Wanganui otherwise he would have lost all credibility, Baker said.

Professor Samuel Lee and Hongi Hika wrote an English to Maori dictionary in 1820 but this was in the Ngapuhi dialect and would have been different than the Wanganui Maori or other southern tribes.

If it sounded like the word "where, "what" or “whale” then Williams would have spelt it with an "h" but it must have sounded like "watch", "water" or "wave", therefore no "h", Baker said.

As the Wanganui Maori chiefs were happy with this spelling in 1840, then who are we to change it 175 years later, Baker said.

Meanwhile, a look at the composition of the New Zealand Geographic Board suggests that Maorification of place names will gather pace such as Aoraki Mt Cook or Te Wai Pounamu South Island.

The 10 members of this 50/50 Maori/non-Maori board producing the 100 percent pro-Maori recommendations are: (1)

ACC manager David Barnes, who was nominated by the New Zealand Federated Mountain Clubs;

Waikato District Council team leader Jenni Vernon, nominated by the Minister of Land Information;

Te Rūnanga o Te Whānau-a-Apanui chief Rikirangi Gage, nominated by the Minister of Maori Affairs;

Massey University geography professor Michael Roche, nominated by the New Zealand Geographical Society;

Aotearoa Fisheries director Matanuku Mahuika, nominated by the Minister of Maori Affairs;

Maori community worker Garrick Murfitt, nominated by Local Government New Zealand;

Land Information New Zealand hydrographer Adam Greenland, who represents LINZ;

Canterbury University Ngāi Tahu Research Centre director Te Maire Tau, nominated by Ngai Tahu;

Auckland University Maori research unit director Merata Kawharu, nominated by the Minister of Land Information.

Pressure to change the name of Hastings is on the way if comments by He Toa Takitini claimant group chair David Tipene-Leach are any indication.

This group that is landing a $100-million treaty payout records a desire for Hastings to be renamed "Heretaunga" and the nearby settlement of Clive be called "Waipureku", an issue which he says “needs to be explored with the New Zealand Geographic Board”. (2)

Sources
1. New Zealand Geographic Board Members. http://www.linz.govt.nz/regulatory/place-names/about-new-zealand-geographic-board/nzgb-members
2. $370m treaty pool for Bay, Hawke’s Bay Today, December 22, 2014.

3 comments:

Ray S said...

A 50/50 Maori, non-Maori board finishes up agreeing with the Maori view. Surprise, surprise. What was it that convinced the non-Maori to cede to Maori wishes?, deals, nudge nudge wink wink, or just plain ignorance of where all this BS is going. A golden opportunity missed to set a precedent and say NO MORE.

Ross Baker said...

The spoken language was Maori, the written language was English.

This is where there is confusion over the spelling and pronunciation of the Maori language, there were different dialects and pronunciations between the tribes.

The Treaty of Waitangi spelling without the "h" would be correct as this is how it was pronounced by the Wanganui chiefs and spelt by Rev Henry Williams at the time he read, discussed and had the Wanganui chiefs sign the Tiriti o Waitangi.

david said...

The main argument for 'whanga' is that this means 'big' but 'wanga' has no meaning. However the Maori dictionary lists alternate spellings for other words (see oha /owha for example). So why not just accept that wanga is an alternate spelling for whanga?
And I note that view that it would have been spelt wh or w depending on whether it was aspirated. Where the wh does the 'f' come from then? I suspect Tongan or Samoan influence.