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Opotiki District could become Ōpōtiki District as consultation to add macrons opens

Opotiki District could soon become Ōpōtiki Distrcit as the name is undergoing consultation to add macrons.

Whituare Bay near Opotiki and Whakatane. Source: istock.com

It follows a proposal from the Opotiki District Council to the New Zealand Geographic Board Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa (NZGB) in June last year.

The council outlined its interest in adding macrons to recognise the importance of its partnership with mana whenua and promote Te Reo Māori and tikanga. 

The council’s proposal included a history of the name which says that Ōpōtiki is a contraction of Ōpōtiki-Mai-Tawhiti.

According to this history, after arriving in Aotearoa the tipuna Tarawa released his pet tanahanaha (fish) into a spring. The spring became known as Ōpōtiki-Mai-Tawhiti meaning "the pets from afar".

NZGB Secretary, Wendy Shaw says that the proposed change to include macrons to Ōpōtiki District is consistent with the Board’s role in applying macrons correctly in written Māori to support the meaning of a name.

Ms Shaw says the town name officially became Ōpōtiki on June 21, so correcting the district name would align the two.

Consultation opened yesterday, and will remain until September 6.

Submissions supporting or objecting to this proposal can be made online, emailed to NZGBsubmissions@linz.govt.nz, or posted to: The Secretary of the New Zealand Geographic Board, c/o Land Information New Zealand, PO Box 5501, Wellington 6145.