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Check the tohuto is on your place name, it’s important - Land Information NZ

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

"During Te Wiki o te Reo Māori - Māori Language Week, New Zealand Geographic Board Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa is celebrating the use of macrons on place names and we want all New Zealanders to do the same," says Mr Anselm Haanen, Board Chairperson.

"Macrons don’t just change pronunciation by lengthening the vowel sound, they change meaning too. And meaning is important when it comes to a place name creating a feeling of belonging to a community.

"This connection is important and one of the criteria the Board takes into account when making naming decisions on places and features around Aotearoa New Zealand," he says.

For example, Māpua means ‘a place of abundance’. However, without the macron it can mean a kind of crying or sobbing."

And according to the mana whenua, Ruakākā refers to ‘a place where the kākā parrot hides’. Without the macrons it means something very different! In 2019 Ruakākā Primary School led the charge to add the macrons to kākā. They wanted to move on from the nickname the mispronunciation created by not having macrons.

In 2019, Ruakākā was one of over 400 official Māori place names that had macrons applied. This year the Board did the same for over 160 from Mangōnui to Rāpaki Bay.

"Adding macrons to these names in one go is a lot quicker than our usual naming processes but is important when it comes to established place names having the correct meaning," says Haanen.

"When officially naming New Zealand features and places, the Board has an important role in ensuring New Zealanders feel connected to their land, communities and the history that tells the place name’s story.

In deciding on Māori place names, the Board uses the orthographic guidelines (PDF) of Te Taura Whiri i te reo Māori (the Māori Language Commission).

"We endorse Te Taura Whiri i te reo Māori’s goal of making macron use part of everyday life for all New Zealanders. Making sure a place name is correct is an important step to ensuring we are celebrating what’s at the heart of that name, which is the meaning," says Haanen.

Check out official, as well as non-official place names, on the NZ Gazetteer, where you can also find information about place name origins and meanings.

Did you know that official place names are required to be used on all official maps, signs, and publications? Making sure we use macrons correctly means that we will see the right place name, hear the correct pronunciation and know the correct meaning.

Hei tā Mr Anselm Haanen, Toihau o te Poari, "I Te Wiki o te Reo Māori, e whakanuia ana e te New Zealand Geographic Board Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa te whakamahia o te tohutō ki te ingoa wāhi, me tō mātou hiahia kia pēnei anō te katoa o Aotearoa."

"Kāore e panonitia noatia e te tohutō te āhua o te whakahua i te ingoa mā te whakaroa ake i te oropuare, ka rerekē anō ko te tikanga o te ingoa. Ka mutu, e hira ana te tikanga o te ingoa wāhi, e rongo ai te tangata i tōna hononga ki te hapori.

Hei tāna anō, "He mea hira te hononga nei, koia nei hoki tētahi o ngā paearu ka āta whakaarohia e te Poari ina whakatau ia mō te ingoa wāhi me te tārainga whenua puta noa i Aotearoa."

Hei tauira, ko te tikanga o te Māpua ko ‘tētahi wāhi nui te hua’. Heoi, ka kore te tohutō, kua kōrero mō te tangi, mō te hotu o te manawa."

Ka mutu, e ai ki te mana whenua, e kōrero ana a Ruakākā mō ‘tētahi wāhi e huna ai te kākā’. Ka kore te tohutō, he tikanga kē noa atu tōna! I te tau 2019 ka kōkiritia e te Kura Tuatahi o Ruakākā te hoatu tohutō ki te kākā. I hiahia rātou kia neke whakamua rātou i te ingoa kārangaranga i hua mai i te hē o te whakahuatia o te ingoa i te kore tohutō.

I te 2019, ko Ruakākā tētahi o ētahi ingoa wāhi mana e 400 neke atu i hoatu ai he tohutō hei whakatika i te ingoa. I tēnei tau i pēnei anō te Poari mō ētahi ingoa wāhi 160 neke atu mai i Mangōnui ki Rāpaki Bay.

Hei tā Haanen anō, "He tere ake te hoatu tohutō ki ngā ingoa nei ina mahia tōpūtia i te wā kotahi tēnā i te āta whai i ā mātou tukanga taunaha, engari e tino hira ana te tikanga o te ingoa ka tae ana ki ngā ingoa wāhi kua roa noa atu e noho mai ana.

"Ina mana te taunahatia o tētahi tārainga whenua me tētahi wāhi i Aotearoa, he wāhi nui tonu kei te Poari e tūturu rongo ai te tangata o Aotearoa i tōna hononga ki te whenua, ki te hapori me ngā kōrero tuku iho ka whakaaturia e te ingoa wāhi.

Ina whakatauhia te ingoa wāhi Māori, ka whai te Poari i ngā tikanga tuhi a Te Taura Whiri i te reo Māori.

Hei tā Haanen, "E tautoko ana mātou i te whāinga a Te Taura Whiri i te reo Māori kia whakamahia te tohutō i ngā mahi o ia rā e te katoa o Aotearoa. He mea hira tonu te whai kia tika te ingoa o tētahi wāhi e pono ai tā tātou whakanui i te tino o taua ingoa, ko tōna tikanga tērā."

Tirohia ngā ingoa mana me ērā kāore anō i mana, i te NZ Gazetteer, ka kitea anō i reira ngā kōrero mō te pūtakenga mai me te tikanga o te ingoa wāhi.

I mōhio rānei koe me mātua whakamahi te ingoa wāhi mana i ngā mahere ōkawa, i ngā tohu me ngā tānga ōkawa katoa? Mā te āta whakmahi tika i te tohutō e kitea ai te ingoa wāhi tika, e rangona ai te whakahua tika, e mōhiotia ai te tino tikanga o tētahi wāhi.

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